It looks like the White Earth Nation is going to jump into the stadium fracas this week.
They’ve scheduled what looks like a press conference on Thursday in Room 125 at the Capitol. We haven’t seen the official notice yet, but this request to book the room has the telling phrase “stadium funding” right there in black and white.
The application doesn’t offer many details, but the band has been pressing for a casino in the Twin Cities metro, and this handout says the project would be a “bold new solution to fund a Vikings stadium.”
The flyer is offering a 50/50 split for the state, with the up-front casino costs paid by the White Earth band. There aren’t any numbers on the offer, but presumably those will come later.
The idea isn’t entirely new. Tribal chairwoman Erma Vizenor testified at one of last year’s stadium hearings before the Senate, and at one point suggested the tribe was interested in building a casino in Arden Hills to pay for a Vikings stadium. That offer mentioned $300 million in annual revenue, split between the state and tribe.
The new effort speaks to the difference between White Earth’s “very limited” gaming operations and the more expansive and better known operations of other tribes.
And lo, it looks like there’s already some enabling legislation. DFL State Rep. Kent Eken of Twin Valley, and Republican Bob Gunther of Fairmont (he’s a constituent of stadium bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Rosen) introduced a lottery expansion into “gaming machines” that looks like it would enable off-reservation gambling under certain provisions.