A new Twin Cities casino and legal fireworks are off the table as sources of funding for a new Vikings stadium to replace the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. But a joint committee of the Minnesota House and Senate now is settling differences on a final plan to finance a new stadium, following the recent approval of similar bills in both houses of the legislature. The 5 million stadium would be the largest single project every approved by the state legislature.
Senator Julie Rosen, author of the bill, said the committee will hammer out issues regarding increasing the Vikings’ contribution to the project, user fees and expanded charitable gambling taxes to help pay for the stadium. Despite the differences between the House and Senate bills, Rosen said, “there’s a lot of win-win in it.” Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley noted, “It’s a great day for Vikings fans and for Minnesota.”
Senators voted against the White Earth Nation’s proposal to build a casino in the Twin Cities, with the tribe and state splitting profits. The lawmakers also rejected a plan to establish racinos at the state’s two horse-racing tracks and narrowly defeated a plan to use fees from legalized fireworks sales to help fund the stadium.
Meanwhile, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a bill that will allow tribal casinos to offer off-track betting for horse races and permit racetracks to expand their card rooms and raise the table stakes. The agreement ended years of conflict between the tribes and the state’s horse racing industry.