Despite aggressive last-minute political maneuvers by racino supporters, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned on May 17 without passing the racino proposal or any other measure to expand gambling in the state.
Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) Executive Director John McCarthy said that opposition to the racino cut across party lines, and reflected a wide range of concerns with gambling expansion.
“Many fiscal conservatives think gambling revenue just gives government permission to spend more money,” McCarthy said. “Others worry about the slippery slope–opening the door to unlimited expansion. Some people are concerned that expanding gambling will increase compulsive gambling problems. And, of course, our tribal members and employees were very worried about their jobs and the future of their communities.”
McCarthy said hundreds of tribal members and employees signed up as part of the MIGA Action Network on the association’s website. Their email messages to legislators helped turn the tide against the racino proposal, he said.
“The racino issue hasn’t gone away,” McCarthy concluded. “They’ll be back next year, and the pressure will be even greater because the state’s budget deficit will be even worse in 2011. We’ll have to fight the battle all over again. But we’re ready.”