Legal fight in Duluth shows gambling expansion would be high-stakes game

The mayor of Duluth tells the Star Tribune the city is in serious financial trouble after the federal government sided with the Fond du Lac band in a legal tussle over casino revenue. The newspaper says some of the proposals to expand gambling in Minnesota could put the state on a similar collision course with tribes, which fear state gambling would cut into revenue that they say has helped alleviate crushing poverty on reservations.
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The mayor of Duluth tells the Star Tribune the city is in serious financial trouble after the federal government sided with the Fond du Lac band in a legal tussle over casino revenue. The newspaper says some of the proposals to expand gambling in Minnesota could put the state on a similar collision course with tribes, which fear state gambling would cut into revenue that they say has helped alleviate crushing poverty on reservations.

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Duluth mayor wants to find compromise in messy downtown casino issue

Duluth Mayor Don Ness says he still wants to find agreement with the Fond du Lac band so both sides benefit from the tribe's downtown casino. The city received a letter from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior giving a 10-day deadline for the city to explain why the casino lease shouldn't be voided. The city and the tribe are locked in a revenue sharing legal dispute.

Judge rules tribe doesn't have to share casino revenue with city of Duluth

Two years ago the Fond du Lac tribe stopped sharing casino revenue with the city of Duluth, arguing their contract violated the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. That prompted the city to sue, and on Monday a district court judge ruled in the tribe's favor. The ruling will likely mean millions of dollars more in annual revenue for the tribe, and that much less for the city of Duluth.

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Minnesota's 18 Indian casinos bring in an estimated $15 billion a year. Part of this revenue could help finance a new Vikings stadium, but it's still unclear if the Governor and GOP leaders will consider expanding casino gambling to an off-reservation site. The Star Tribune reports tribal leaders and a battalion of lobbyists are preparing for a potentially fierce battle at the State Capitol.

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A federal judge ruled the Fond-du-Lac Ojibwe Band no longer needs to share revenue from its casino with the city. The city has appealed the decision and now is apparently threatening to shut down the casino if the ruling stands. Mayor Don Ness tells Minnesota Public Radio the casino can't operate without the city's written consent.

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