According to Doug Magnus, the District 22 Republican Senator, when it comes to balancing the budget, the lawmakers of the state are not discounting any option. This includes two separate proposals for the enhancement and expansion of gambling in Minnesota. Those who support the addition of casino slots at horse race tracks in Columbus and Shakopee are pushing for a racino bill which will provide the necessary clearance for such expansion. The racino bill was initially scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday; however it was later rescheduled. This has been an annual proposal at the Capitol and those backing it claim that it will result in millions of dollars as revenue to the state; however despite many tries it has not yet found success.
Along with this, Profit Minnesota which is a coalition of around 4,900 restaurants and bars is now demanding a legislation which will let all the restaurants and bars across the state increase their charitable gambling options to electronic pull-tabs, electronic bingo and video lottery terminals which are similar to slot machines. A spokesman of Profit Minnesota told the media a week ago that the gambling expansion will result in the state coffers getting as much as $600 million per year in gambling revenue without the taxes being raised. The coalition also said that thousands of jobs will be created and saved by its proposal and it will also vitalize the local economies of all counties as it adds up to $230 million in support of local charitable institutions every year.
Magnus said that everyone wanted all the options to be open in front of them and that both the racinos and the expansion of gambling bars is being considered by the authorities. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association represents a majority of the tribes of the state which are opposed to the proposed gambling expansion which according to them may divert a considerable revenue source of the tribes. The Association organized a rally at the State Capitol yesterday. Others who are against the proposal are concerned about the state relying on non-guaranteed sources of revenue for specific state projects.