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Electronic Pull Tabs Make their Debut at Howie’s [AUDIO]

Andy Barth, Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

ST. CLOUD – The much talked about electronic pull tabs have made their debut in St. Cloud.  Howie’s Sports Bar and Grill is one of just five bars in Minnesota — and the only one outside the Twin Cities — that have the game available.

Fans could start playing the game today (Tuesday), after getting approval from the State Gambling Board.  Andy Barth of St. Cloud is one of the first to play the game.  He says he caught on quickly.

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The electronic pull tabs are played on ipads, and have five different games to choose from.  Howie’s has six ipads available right now.

Mary Ellen Moschetti is a spokesperson for the games’ distributor Express Games Minnesota.  She says the electronic version has an 85 percent payout, which is higher than then the paper pull tabs.

She says they work just like the paper version; you pay to play up front, you’re handed an ipad, and if you win you cash out with the person running the pull tab booth.  But, unlike the paper version, you won’t be able to tell how many big winners are available with each game.

The St. Cloud Youth Hockey Association is the local charity benefitting from the proceeds of the electronic pull tabs at Howie’s.

More distributors are likely to be licensed sometime later this year, which will allow the games to start popping-up in other bars around the state in November and December.

The Gambling Control Board signed off Tuesday on five new animated versions of the paper pull-tabs that have long been a fixture in bars.

The new games from Las Vegas-based Acres 4.0 include “Treasures of the Jungle” and “Big Money Heist.”

Lawmakers are relying on taxes from electronic pull-tabs to help the state repay borrowing for the $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

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