Electronic pull-tabs came to Coon Rapids Sept. 18.
On the day the Minnesota Charitable Gambling Control Board gave the green light to expansion of gambling in the state with the introduction of electronic pull-tabs, the Coon Rapids Youth Hockey Association, together with its partner CR’s Sports Bar & Billiards, implemented them.
The youth hockey association has been operating paper pull-tab gambling at CR’s Sports Bar & Billiard for four years.
Electronic pull-tabs were approved by the 2012 Minnesota Legislature as a revenue source to help pay for the state’s share of the cost of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium project.
Indeed, the electronic pull-tab games – there are five of them on Apple i-Pads – went live at CR’s Sports Bar & Billiards at 1 p.m. Sept. 18 shortly after the state charitable gambling board had given its blessing.
According to Michelle Lange, youth hockey association board member and gambling manager, CR’s Sports Bar & Billiards was one of the first locations in the state to offer electronic pull-tabs.
The business was filled with patrons excited to try this new form of charitable gambling as well as families from the hockey association, Lange said.
“The original reason that charitable gambling began was to help support the youth in our communities,” she said.
She worked with CR’s Sports Bar & Billiards owner Jerry Johnson to research the electronic pull-tabs option and to put in an application to be one of the first locations to be approved by the state to provide them, Lange said.
“We worked hard to be one of the first,” she said.
According to Johnson, adding electronic pull-tabs “will bring excitement to the table.”
And there was no upfront cost to the hockey association with the addition of electronic pull-tabs, Lange said.
Last year the hockey association’s paper pull-tab operation at CR’s Sports Bar & Billiards netted $70,000 for the association, she said.
“That money goes to support the work of the association in promoting youth hockey in the community,” Lange said.
That includes helping to pay the cost of equipment and ice time as well as offering a Junior Cardinals Hockey Camp each fall with free equipment and ice time for participants at the mite and under eight levels in an effort to grow the sport in the community, she said.
“We hope that the electronic pull-tabs will bring in more money for the association,” Lange said.
According to Lange, the money the hockey association gives to the state is based on monthly pull-tab sales.
Acres 4.0, the first company to received an electronic pull-tab manufacturing license from the state charitable gambling board, will be soon be adding more iPad pull-tab games to its current inventory, she said.
According to a press release from Krista Reiner, Acres 4.0, the proprietary central server-based system reinvents current paper pull-tab operations using secure wireless technology, offering exceptional player enjoyment and simplicity of operation.
The Las Vegas-based company was founded by John Acres.
“Five years ago, I recognized the gambling industry had outgrown its traditional player base and that most non-gambling consumers weren’t satisfied with traditional gambling games or experiences,” Acres said in the press release.
“The implementation of this exciting new product in Minnesota is just the beginning of another revolutionary change in the industry.”
Acres 4.0 is distributing the new system in Minnesota exclusively through Express Games MN, Inc.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]