Canterbury Park Inches Closer to Getting Their Racino

Dan AdamsCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2010

The agricultural committee gave the racino bill an extra boost last week when it was approved by a simple voice vote. It has been attached to a bill also related to biomass. It makes so much sense for the state to support a bill that would allow slot machines to be implemented at Canterbury Park.

A staple in the Southern metro, Canterbury Park has created hundreds of jobs for unemployed workers every summer, and offers various kinds of entertainment for all ages. The bill has received so much criticism due to the fact the Native American tribes have held a monopoly on gaming revenue in this state since the late 1980's.

Native American casino's have grown exponentially and have dominated gaming revenue when it could have been going directly to the state over the past twenty years. It is going to take overwhelming public support and your help to get the bill to pass the next few obstacles in its way from becoming a reality.

Canterbury Park has been in a battle of the ages over the past 13 year and are looking to finally achieve what they set out to after re-opening in 1995. Canterbury Park Holding Corp. (CPHC) would not receive a huge percentage of the slot-machine revenue if it is approved, just about all of it will get paid back to the gamblers and the difference to the taxpayers. The revenue the way it is structured as it has passed thus far this session would cover about five different areas of economic distress.

More importantly, the bill would help develop the horse racing industry in Minnesota. As of right now, Canterbury has had to cut the number of race dates in their summer season. The purse structure has to go down monetarily because the revenue stream from the card room is steadily declining.

Without the approval of these slot-machines, hundreds of people are at risk of losing their jobs, most of them have already lost full-time benefits, and another defeat by the Legislature of Minnesota would be devastating. Running Aces in Columbus, Minnesota would also receive slot-machines if this bill is approved, and they are in dire straits for an additional revenue stream as well.

If approved the bill could lead to many more jobs. It likely wouldn't take away from any of the positions at the Native American casino's because they are already well established and have a firm clientele. Gambling problems will not rise out of an approval. The expansion of gaming has occurred in over a dozen other states, and has shown to be a steady flow of cash for local governments.

The sport of horse racing can not survive on the amount of money people are wagering these days because it is just not enough. In 1986, Canterbury Downs generated a total of $134 Million in wagers on-track alone. At that point, there were no simulcasting wagers allowed in Minnesota.  That era of racing has gone and disappeared in Minnesota with addition of these Native American casinos.

If the state were to approve slot-machines, more people would be at Canterbury, more people would likely be there for the horse races, and the sport could grow back as one of the more popular forms of entertainment in the Twin Cities metro area. It is evident that Minnesotan's are in approval of the racino's being built. The legislators in this state need urging from everyone that can help to get this bill to pass. It's a win, win situation.