Racino Bill is Re-Born; Could Help Fund Stadium

Posted at: 02/27/2013 10:35 PM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 2:00 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

It has been defeated before but a racino bill is back. Some believe, it may help pay for the new Vikings stadium now that electronic pull tabs are not pumping out as much money as initially projected.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, will introduce a new racino bill Thursday.

"This year, I reintroduced the bill, because we are going to have a shortfall in the pull tabs situation. Which is going to be a burden on the general fund," Hackbarth said.

Some estimates show slots could generate more than 100 million dollars a year and Hackbarth says the current stadium funding plan may not pan out.

"There's a lot of people that are still saying that electronic pull tabs are going to come into their own, we have to get more machines out there, I don't think that's going to happen," Hackbarth said.

"The general fund of the state of Minnesota is backing the bonds on the stadium, and there's going to be a hole in the stadium if these electronic pull tabs don't bring in the money," Hackbarth said.

Running Aces believes the bill is right on track.

"The principle of fairness for harness racing and a facility that employs over 600 Minnesotans is real and we renew our call for an honest discussion on how slots at horse tracks can help the state," Running Aces board member John Derus said in a news release.

Canterbury Park says it is not pursuing slots. They are in a more than $80 million dollar agreement with Mystic Lake Casino to keep it that way.

The Minnesota Racing Commission has shown support for racinos in the past.

"I can't really speculate on whether or not there will or will not be a racino. It went on for about 13 years, and consistently Minnesota has said no, no, no," said Minnesota Racing Commission Chair Jesse Overton.