Nearly a year ago we were all frantically concerned about the Vikings and the prospect of them moving to Los Angeles. Sports haters began to chime in throughout Minnesota, creating mounting frustration for us Vikings lovers. The thought of the Vikings moving West, after all this pain and misery and no Super Bowl ring to show for it, seemed too much to bear. Everything we’ve gone through with this franchise. It couldn’t be all for naught.
Enter Mark Dayton, Zygi Wilf, the Minnesota state legislature, and yes, even Roger Goodell. After months and months and months of debating and positioning, over a year of the we have a stadium-we don’t have a stadium roller coaster ride, the Vikings stadium bill was passed into law. All Vikings fans breathed a collective sigh of relief and toasted a drink to our Purple and Gold.
One of the creative solutions Dayton came up with to push the stadium deal through was public financing from revenues gained from electronic gambling machines. The plan calls for $100 million monthly earnings and $225 a day per machine. As it turns out, the machines are falling well short of those numbers. As reported by MPR, the daily haul is only $180 per machine. The total revenue generated from these new machines to date is only $4.1 million, as reported by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. This is not what the Vikings and Minnesota lawmakers wanted to hear.
Stadium opponents are beginning to speak up once again, saying projections for stadium gambling revenue are going to be closer to $47 million, over 50% short of the $100 original projection. They ignore, however, that original projections called for 300 bars and taverns throughout the Twin Cities. Only 75 were approved by the end of last year. (That number has climbed by about 50 in the new year). Minnesota officials continue to point to the delayed approval process as the major factor in the lower-than-expected revenue.
TCH doesn’t have any Mathletes on staff, but 50% projected revenue from only 25% of the projected bars and taverns seems like a fairly decent start. Projected revenue numbers are falling short so far, but so are projected approvals for machines. It appears things can get on track.
Still, state officials had to cut the expected stadium cash on hand by nearly half to account for the lagging funds. That’s a considerable amount. This isn’t the last we’ll hear of this, especially if those revenue numbers don’t increase in a hurry. If you thought they stadium debate was over last spring, you thought wrong.