Vikings Backers Hope New Game Tips Stadium Effort

By Danielle Nordine

Some lawmakers are gambling that a new piece of the Vikings stadium funding proposal will help the plan move forward.

Creating a sports version of the gambling devices known as tip boards would generate more money for charities while helping fund the stadium, said Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, who put forward the proposal.

Tip board games currently are played legally. As the Minnesota Gambling Control Board describes the process, players purchase sealed tickets with random numbers or symbols on them.

Once all the tickets are sold, a sticker is peeled back on a board to reveal a number or symbol. The winner has the ticket that matches.

The proposed sports-themed game would be similar to the current tip boards, and players generally would buy two random tickets, said Executive Director King Wilson of Allied Charities of Minnesota.

Winning would depend on the score.

For example, if a player had the numbers one and six, he or she would win if those numbers are anywhere in the score, such as 26-21 or 91-63.

“It’s not about who wins or loses, it’s about the numerical outcomes,” Kriesel said.

The tip board game would be available for professional sporting events, Wilson said.

The newest addition to the Vikings stadium proposal has raised some controversy. Gov. Mark Dayton said he is concerned the tip boards would be challenged in court, which could negatively affect the stadium project, because most sports betting is illegal under federal law.

“It’s not a practical solution,” Dayton said of the plan.

Kriesel and Wilson said while the proposed new tip boards would be sports-themed, winning is based only on the numbers involved.

“It’s really no different than when you peel that seal back,” Wilson said.

The current non-sports version of the game is not very popular, he said. But although the sports version would be similar, the fact that it would center on an event could draw in more players, he said.

“It’s just adds an element that creates more interest among folks,” he said. “During a game somebody kicks a field goal and that changes the number in the last five seconds. It’s fun.”

Kriesel’s proposal for the stadium includes funds from electronic pull tabs and bingo games along with the sports tip boards. He said it would bring in more than the amount needed to pay for stadium construction, and would increase the amount charities receive from gaming by about $36 million a year.