What are the Demographics of the Communities Subsidizing the Vikings Stadium? #wilfare

I looked up the demographic information for the zip codes of the top-10 e-pulltabs locations. While it’s well understood that gambling is a regressive tax (wealthy people don’t waste money on stupid things, leaving non-wealthy people in the position of financing an NFL stadium) this may help illustrate how regressive this particular tax is in practice.

The median household income for the State of Minnesota in 2010 was $56,456. Only one of the top-10 e-pulltabs venues resides in a zip code with a higher median household income: Valley Lounge, 3385 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Eagan, MN 55121.

Here are the top-10:

Median Household Income of top-10 e-pulltabs Venue Zip Codes

The top-10 zip codes where e-pulltabs are having the most success at extracting income from communities have a median household income of $48,355, or 14% below the state average.

Another way to look at this is to check what percentage of people living near Wilfare extraction devices live below the poverty line. In 2010, the poverty line for a family of four was $22,113. Here is how many people live below that level near the top-10 e-pulltabs venues:

e-Pulltabs Venues by Percentage of Households below Poverty Line

According to the 2010 census, one third of the households near Porky’s Bar – the #1 venue in the state for subsidizing Zygi Wilf’s wealth – live below the poverty line. 94% of students at the nearby grade school are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Rep John Kriesel Proud of e-pulltabs exploitation

Rep. John Kriesel was the author of the e-pulltabs bill that became the funding mechanism for subsidizing the National Football League. Now we can see what his legislation looks like in practice.

Kriesel, who did not run for re-election, represented Cottage Grove, which has contributed nothing to the Vikings stadium to date, since they have no e-pulltabs venues:

e-Pulltabs Venues in Cottage Grove

Quite a deal, eh? Stick gambling devices in poor communities so you can extract money from them in order to subsidize the National Football League, the Minnesota Vikings, and Vikings season ticket holders. None of whom actually need to be subsidized. But, they have better lobbyists than people who can’t afford lobbyists, and Rep Kriesel was willing to listen to those lobbyists.

By the way, one of the most ridiculous claims in favor of e-pulltabs came from King Wilson, who was then head of the charitable organization lobbying for e-pulltabs:

“We’re not expanding anything, we’re just taking what we’ve already got and updating it to fit current technology,” said King Wilson, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota.

So, nothing was being expanded, yet stadium funding projections were built on a $40 million per year expansion in gambling revenues through e-pulltabs. Shortly after the stadium bill passed, King Wilson resigned and moved to Hawaii. Perhaps a local reporter could talk their boss into a trip to the islands to gather some quotes for Vikings stadium bill anniversary story?

2 thoughts on “What are the Demographics of the Communities Subsidizing the Vikings Stadium? #wilfare”

  1. Do/did these places have regular pull tabs which were replaced or supplemented by these? If they were already there and being used this is moot.

  2. @Bill, the e-pulltabs revenues are based on revenue beyond what was already generated by paper pulltabs. So, yes, they may have been exploiting people already, but now they get to exploit people even more, with private companies being the primary beneficiaries.

    One of the hangups on venue rollouts is some of the biggest paper pulltabs distributors have been seeing delays in getting e-pulltabs devices approved by the gambling control board. If I understand the bill correctly, to hit projections, something like 90% of places hosting paper pulltabs will have to add e-pulltabs to their mix and generate a net $40m/yr from the electronic devices on top of what’s generated from paper.

    O’Gara’s and Elsie’s both definitely have paper and e-pulltabs. And both are falling far short of projections for revenue with electronic devices, which suggests that people prefer paper. Or, they haven’t connected with poor saps who just got an insurance settlement that they’re now pissing away in corners of dive bars.

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