Tim Nelson at MPR’s Stadium Watch blog has an interesting quote from a pulltabs distributor, International Gamco vice president Scott Henneman, who’s going to be entering the e-pulltabs market in Minnesota. He seems to be lobbying for a more exploitive form of e-pulltabs than are currently available in Minnesota. As I read it, it sounds like he’d like to roll out machines that avoid the “walk of shame” of bringing a device back to a bar employee to have more credits added after zeroing out:
“We’ve had the electronic pulltab product out in other countries, like Norway, the U.K., Argentina. We’ve now just been approved in the state of Virginia, and we’re seeing with the kiosk, which is a cash-in product, ticket out, that we’re generating $220 cash in per day and netting around $70, $80 per day. We also have the same product in Idaho, that’s into bars, along with our paper product, and it’s seeing similar revenues. And the reason for that is that you don’t go through a person to play the game. You have $20 in your pocket, you walk right up to the machine, You don’t go through a point of sale, you don’t through a bar to get that product. So I think that’s a big difference why those revenues may be a little bit better than the revenues that are being seen in Minnesota.”
I think Henneman is likely right about this. If you take the “walk of shame” out of the gambling process, gamblers can more efficiently lose their money. But, is that really how we want to treat problem gamblers?
Personally, when I think of e-pulltabs with self-funding credit options I picture a guy with a drinking problem who’s come into some money from an insurance settlement after a car accident who’s pissing it away at the end of the bar. The least we can do for a guy like that is to ask him to come up for air between rounds of losses.
If the state decides to go this route, it would prove that we’re willing to be downright mean to people with addiction problems in order to subsidize the NFL.