Racino supporters ramp up efforts to get slots at horse tracks

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.

  • Gibson

    Hey, Senator Limmer, a national lottery was used to finance the American revolution!

  • al

    Senator Limmer…….nor is it the role of government to restrict a business to compete with a current ongoing enterprise.

  • Jerry Joubert

    The corrupt responses on both sides that oppose the racino is the reason that we Citizens for Fainess are looking to suppot an independent in the next govenors race that will represent what 70% of Minnesotans want. Not what the lobbiest want, they are really against competition in gambling not the expansion of gambling. After the last fiasco this last summer, an honest independent is what Minnesota needs to create jobs and fairness for all Minnesota taxpayers. Please join us in electing independent, honest representatives that support jobs, not deciet!

  • AA

    Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove,

    It is called freedom of choice. You have gambling in the state, yet only one group is allowed to have it and expand it at will.

    The right choice is clear to over 70% in MN residents (higher in recent local paper/news polls).

    Current times and logic would say it is time to accept and tax the gaming that is already available AND expanding.

    This may be one of the most arrogant and misleading statements yet:

    “And to make the state of Minnesota act like a bookie or a pit boss is simply not the role of government.”

    Really? What about the lottery?

    In this case, the state would neither own or operate a Racino.

    The state would garner tax revenue, just like it does with all other business entities.

  • AA

    quote from my friend KP:

    I’d trust a bookie or a pit boss with my money long before trusting a politician or a bureaucrat.

  • jr briggs

    I just heard on KARE11 news that we may get slot machines in at the racinos, but will have to pay the indian tribes “their cut” What?? Give me a break. I figured the tribes had a monopoly on the state gambling revenues, but come on. Why does every other state, Wisconsin, gets like 34% of the revenue from tribes, as do all other states. What does mn get ? Nothing from what I understand. Who was the genius that let this happen? Please enlighten me.