ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two companies instrumental in launching Minnesota's electronic pull-tab gambling games are fighting in court, a battle that could disrupt the games that were initially launched to fund the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
The electronic betting games, introduced a year ago to help pay the state's share of the stadium construction, didn't end up raising any money for the project, but some charities that operate the games have benefited from their introduction.
State officials were forced to find a new funding source after projections for the pull-tabs were slashed from $35 million to less than $2 million.
Now, the pull-tabs' manufacturer, Acres 4.0, has threatened to disconnect its computer servers at bars and restaurants across the state if the distributor, Express Games MN, doesn't make some overdue payments.
Express Games, the largest distributor of electronic pull-tab games in Minnesota, withheld the payments and sued Acres in December, claiming it refused to license its Apple products. The lawsuit claims that reduced Express' ability to introduce new devices and win new customers, according to the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1etDlFC ). Express Games won a temporary restraining order against Acres.
Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, said the board is concerned about the conflict. Of the $1.9 million in electronic pull-tab sales in December, $1.5 million were from Express Games.
"It's a dispute their lawyers need to work out with Apple," said Barrett.
That said, the "integrity and operations" of the electronic games have not been compromised, Barrett said.
"The servers weren't shut down. It's business as usual," Barrett said. "Let's let these two vendors work out their differences."