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Responding to potential proposals for new casinos and racinos that would finance a Minnesota Vikings stadium, a group of legislators from both parties spoke this morning against expansion of gambling in Minnesota.

Bipartisan group says no expansion of gambling for Vikings

Rep. Ann Lenczewski: “We don’t need the state of MN addicted to gambling.”

Responding to potential proposals for new casinos and racinos that would finance a Minnesota Vikings stadium, a group of legislators from both parties spoke this morning against expansion of gambling in Minnesota.

Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) led the opposition, arguing that gambling expansion would constitute a “knee-jerk reaction” to a revenue problem, a reaction that would in fact result in significant social and economic costs to the state. Hann argued that no government activity should be funded by the “large group of problem gamblers” that would be needed for a new casino to be profitable.

Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) echoed these concerns, calling the proposal an unfair and regressive tax increase. The concept “creates more problems than it solves,” the former chair of Taxes said.

The senator and representative were joined by a bipartisan group of legislators who aren’t often on the same side of issues. Sens. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) and Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) stood alongside Reps. Frank Hornstein, Jim Davnie, and  Diane Loeffler (all DFL-Minneapolis), and Sens. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) and Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) in opposition to any form of gambling expansion.

When pressed about the possiblity of the Vikings leaving Minnesota if a stadium solution is not found, all the legislators affirmed their opposition to gambling expansion and indeed any public money for stadium projects. Speaking to the spectre of the football team’s departure, Hann said the professional sports organizations “[use] one state against another to blackmail the public.”


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