A bipartisan group of legislators will join with religious leaders and a group that organizes against gambling to speak out tomorrow against any efforts to expand gambling to pay for a new Vikings stadium. Sen. David Hann and Rep. Ann Lenczewski will join members of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Minnesotans Against Gambling Expansion. The group will make their announcement at a Thursday morning news conference but sent out a news release on Wednesday.
“We’re glad these lawmakers are joining with us and speaking out,” said Rev. Doug Mitchell, chair of the JRLC Board and a minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. “Increasing state dependence on gambling would exact a toll on those who can least afford it. Studies show that the social costs are just too high. As a minister to a downtown congregation I am particularly concerned about the impact that a casino would have on our neighborhood and community.”
The JRLC is an interfaith coalition representing the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council on Churches, Islamic Center of Minnesota and the Jewish Community Relations council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Both Hann and Lenczewski have been long-time critics of any expansion of gambling. Lencewski has worked to defeat any proposals that would put a casino at the Mall of America. Hann has also long opposed any expansion of gambling. He authored a bill in 2005 to abolish the lottery.
Several groups are lobbying for a casino in downtown Minneapolis or for the expansion of slot machines at the state’s two horse tracks to help pay for a Vikings stadium.