In a stunning development, a Minnesota Senate committee added Racino to the Vikings stadium bill, thereby complicating the situation. Here’s the reaction to the Racino development:
But adding racino gambling would cost needed political support, said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, sponsor of the stadium bill in the Senate.
She called its addition “a serious blow to the bill.”
“It will have to be taken out,” Rosen said.
A spokeswoman for Dayton said she couldn’t say whether the DFL governor would sign a stadium bill that included racino gambling.
Earlier Wednesday, Dayton said he didn’t think racino should be in the stadium plan. If it’s challenged in court, he said, the sale of construction bonds would have to be postponed until the legal process had concluded.
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, sponsor of the bill in the House, said including racino gambling was “problematic.”
Saying that adding Racino to the Vikings stadium bill is problematic is understatement. If they don’t remove Racino from the bill, Racino lobbyists may have killed the bill, something that was thought impossible at the start of the day.
The bill was considered dead a week ago when a House committee defeated it. After it was resurrected in the Senate this week, it appeared to have changed from a political corpse to political juggernaut.
Adding Racino to the bill dumps cold water on the stadium bill, causing weary legislators to be filled with frustration. Sen. Julie Rosen’s reaction was noticeably terse.
Considering MIGA’s political contributions to the DFL, it’s doubtful that Gov. Dayton would sign a bill with Racino in it. Conversely, it’s totally predictable that MIGA and CAGE lobbyists will descend on the Capitol, starting this morning, like the locusts descended on Egypt just prior to the Exodus.
It’s the only thing that CAGE and MIGA will work on together.
The Vikings don’t have an opinion on Racino but they’re worried about Racino’s impact on the bill:
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said the Vikings do not have a strong opinion on the racino issue, but he was worried about its addition so close to the end of the legislative session. He said he is concerned the bill is “getting heavy, it’s getting complicated.”
It would be surprising if Racino isn’t removed from the Senate bill, especially considering the opposition from the Vikings and the GOP sponsors of the House and Senate bills. With MIGA and CAGE lobbying legislators, too, it’s difficult to see Racino making it through the next committee.
With all those factors working against it, Racino might’ve breathed its last breath. The Vikings stadium is its last hope. After that, MIGA, CAGE and the DFL will kill Racino once and for all.