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E-pulltabs could be in FF in two weeks

Published 11:21am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Those who’ve been waiting for the new electronic pull tabs to come to Fergus Falls might finally get their wish in a couple weeks.

It’s expected, according to Fergus Falls VFW gambling manager Louis Karsnia, that the Minnesota Gambling Control Board will approve another manufacturer for the epull tabs at its next meeting at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 in Roseville, Minn.

“They’re waiting for this new manufacturer to be approved, then our local distributor will have electronics,” Karsnia said.

A tax on new electronic pull tabs is part of the plan to help pay for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Once the manufacturer is approved, Karsnia expects electronic pull tabs will be in Fergus Falls in two or three weeks. The manufacturer has gone through a long process of laboratory testing and background checks since legislation for the electronic pull tabs was passed last summer.

It’s the International Game Co. and Election Gaming Solutions that have teamed up and will seek approval. International Game Co. has sold paper pull tabs in Minnesota for 25 years, according to Karsnia.

Once approved, those manufacturers will sell to local pull tab distributor Triple Crown Gaming in Fergus Falls, and then Karsnia will purchase from Triple Crown.

Two manufacturers already have their products in the state, but they’re not being sold to a distributor locally.

“If you’ve been doing business with somebody for 20 years, and somebody new comes to town… it’s hard to let that happen,” Karsnia said.

He also owns Surething software with his wife Jessica and he’s on the board of directors for Allied Charities of Minnesota, the statewide lobby group. He talks to a lot of gambling managers.

He said he recently talked with a gentleman who had put in the electronic pull tabs at the VFW in Osakis about a week ago. Some people like them, and some people don’t. There are lots of different opinions, Karsnia said.

Either way, customers can still count on something.

“The paper option’s always going to be there,” Karsnia said.

He also talked with a gambling manager Tuesday who put in the electronic pull tabs three weeks ago and has made $3,000 in sales during that time. That’s not very good, according to Karsnia. He thinks that while electronic pull tabs might get a honeymoon period, once folks have tried them, sales will likely regress.

Karsnia is looking forward to getting the electronic pull tabs up and running for patrons. Then, folks can try them out for themselves rather than just hear about them through the rumor mill.

“I think that it may bring some new customers through the door so they can see what they are,” Karsnia said. “Hopefully when people see them, they can make their own opinions up on them.”

One thing Karsnia does want to clear up is the blame charities around the state have gotten for not putting the electronic systems in. It really came down to charities not wanting to ruin the standing relationships they had with distributors. Instead, charities got a bad rap and were blamed for the revenues not being there, Karsnia said.

“I think that’s wrong,” Karsnia said. “It’s about keeping a business relationship strong that’s been strong for a long time. Just because the first thing that comes out is new doesn’t mean it’s the best.”

  • Mark Martenstone

    I don’t dabble in pull tabs often, but when I do it will be to support local boosters and not the Vikings.

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