Republican lawmakers push for Minnesota racinos again

Republican lawmakers Sen David Senjem and Rep. Bob Gunther are major supporters of adding slot machines at two horse-racing tracks in Minnesota. It’s not the first time this attempt at gambling expansion has been pushed in the state, but this time proponents are hoping that an already tight budget and the promise of big sums of the money that would go towards creating new jobs in the state will be enough to push the bill through.

The push for the “racinos” has constantly been shot down in the past and faced opposition from the right, the left, and from Indian tribes. This time, proponents are proposing that proceeds from video lottery terminals will be used to fuel a dedicated state fund for grants and loans to business startups and entrepreneurial ventures. But it can’t be ignored that “racinos” would all but destroy the Indian tribe gaming business.

Whispers of gambling funds being used to build a new stadium for the Vikings make the deal sound sweeter, that is if the NFL lockout ends anytime soon. Bottom line is that this bill has been shot down before and it will likely meet more resistance if it gains any kind of momentum, regardless of its money-making potential.

What I am trying to understand is why proponents of “racinos” continue to beat a dead horse, no pun intended. As the AP reported in an article by Patrick Condon, the Citizens Against Gambling Expansion coalition of gambling opponents, who are led by a handful of Republican activists including state GOP chairman Tony Sutton, have said that the only true beneficiaries of the proposal would be the owners of the tracks. Meaning, the state wouldn’t actually be better off for it. Of course, that’s not exactly true, because jobs would be created, but you this is the type of rhetoric both sides are pumping out, so you can imagine how this proposal will have to battle for every inch.

If anything, it makes more sense to me to push for online gambling which wouldn’t be in direct competition with Indian tribes and is the future of gaming.

Oh, but I suppose that’s too outrageous to picture people gambling online. It’s interesting to see what forms of gambling certain Republicans are willing to back while members of their same party oppose. No wonder they can’t get any gambling legislation passed!