The Star Tribune reports the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Canterbury Park horse-racing track have reached a 10-year agreement. The deal calls for the tribe, which operates the nearby Mystic Lake Casino, to contribute tens of millions of dollars to Canterbury purses. In exchange, owners of the racetrack in Shakopee agree to end their pursuit to add slot machines and help block efforts to expand gambling in the Twin Cities metro area.
A funny thing happened to the stadium bill on its way to the Senate floor. A racino was added. Stadium backers worry inclusion of casino gambling at racetracks as a funding source will kill the bill. One more committee will take up the measure Thursday and may try to remove the racino.
Minnesota has relatively low incidences of horse and jockey injuries at Canturbury Park according to an analysis by the New York Times. But other states with fewer regulations and bigger purses ballooned by slot machine gambling don't fare as well.
Minnesota Indian tribes have long opposed proposals to put casino gambling in race tracks. State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) now suggests having the tribes share in the revenue from slot machines, along with the state and the horse racing industry. "It may be just the perfect storm that everybody comes together," Kelly says.
The bill would allow the state's horse-racing tracks to add slot machines and other casino games. The bill's author, Republican Dave Senjem, says an estimated $130 million in annual revenue would go toward job creation and economic development, though he did leave open the possibility of tapping it for a Vikings stadium.
While the Vikings, Minneapolis, and the Dayton administration are in negotiations to come up with a stadium plan, state lawmakers have floated a series of long-shot proposals of their own. The latest is a revival of the "racino" idea, which would use revenue from slot machines at horse racing tracks to help fund a new stadium. Gambling opponents and tribal casinos have helped defeat the proposal in the past.
Thirty-six percent of respondents to a KSTP survey say the Minnesota Vikings should renovate the current Metrodome, and 29 percent say they should stay there -- with no renovation. Only 28 percent said the team should build a new stadium. The news station also says about half of Minnesotans support expanding gambling to fund a new stadium.
Gov. Dayton says even if lawmakers choose to fund a new Vikings stadium through a racino, the plan would likely get gummed up in the court system for years. He says any plan to expand gambling at the racetracks would probably bring a lawsuit from the state's tribes, which have a long-standing deal that grants them a monopoly on gambling.
One House member says the rise of new Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem and Assistant Leader Claire Robling lends muscle to the move to put slot machines at horse racing tracks. The proposal's chances with the House and Governor Dayton are still murky, though.
Opponents of Racino plans say expansions to non-Indian gaming for funding a Vikings stadium would cut casino jobs by 30 percent.
The Minnesota State Lottery says that slot machines at horse racing tracks Canterbury Park and Running Aces will raise enough annual revenue to build a Vikings stadium with money left for education.