Legislators and religious groups to come out against gambling

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.

  • Sharon Adelmann

    Hey people gambling is already in this state! Regardless of your opinions people are going to go to casinos. I agree that it is harmful to some people with an addiction and your argument would hold water if there were not already several gambling outlets available. Having a state run one is not going to make someone spend more or less money, but it would provide an additional source of revenue to the state! As for the attitude of letting the Vikings leave, I feel if we let them go in few years there will be push to bring back a NFL team, i..e the Northstars. It will cost twice as much and we probably will not have an owner willing to foot the bill.