Several supporters of allowing the state’s two horse tracks to operate slot machines are pushing to be included in the Vikings stadium discussion. Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake, says he and other supporters of the so-called Racino bill believe the measure will pay for part of a new Vikings stadium and pay back some of the K12 school payment delay used to balance the state’s budget.
“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes,” DeKruif said. “I do think there is enough money to do both, pay back the school shift and make the payments on the bonds.”
Racino is one of several measures being floated to pay for a new Vikings stadium. Governor Dayton says he’s listening to all ideas before he releases his plan the week of Nov. 7. DeKruif said he believes allowing slot machines at the state’s horse tracks is less controversial because gambling already occurs there.
“Gambling in Minnesota – like it or not – is here to stay,” DeKruif said. “It’s a choice tax. It’s an avenue to give the economy a shot in the arm through the construction trades, the horse industry which is a large part of our economy.”
Several of DeKruif’s colleagues lined up in opposition to any expansion of gambling to pay for a Vikings stadium. They argued that allowing even more gambling in Minnesota will increase addiction to gambling and crime caused by problem gamblers. They also argued it will make the state more inclined to rely on gambling expansion in the future.
“It’s a tax on either the desperate or the mathematically impaired,” Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said. “And to make the state of Minnesota act like a bookie or a pit boss is simply not the role of government.”
Dayton and legislative leaders will meet tomorrow morning to discuss the stadium issue.