Vikings stadium bill now hated by pretty much everybody

The Minnesota Vikings stadium bill is set to be introduced into the state legislature today, and it turns out that — whoops! — nobody bothered to see whether state gambling interests were okay with its expansion of “pulltab” gambling to fund a stadium. And despite a last-second move by Gov. Mark Dayton to peel off $10 million a year from the pulltab revenues and use it for tax breaks for charitable gambling, they’re still pretty cheesed off about the whole thing:

A spokesman for Allied Charities of Minnesota said after the governor’s news conference that leaders of the charitable gambling industry did not know about the briefing and said there was no agreement with the Dayton administration on whether the revenue estimates were accurate or how the new revenues should be divided.

“We have no deal,” said Ray Bohn, a spokesman. “We’re pretty offended.”

Bohn said Dayton administration officials had begun meeting with charitable gaming officials just three days before, and that discussions had been expected to spill into the weekend. “It’s very weird,” Bohn said. “I’ve never been treated like this before.”

While the Star Tribune article on this doesn’t come out and say it, presumably one concern of Allied Charities — which is basically an organization of charities that fundraise via pulltabs, with a small sideline in bingo — is that Vikings pulltabs will cut into their customer base, causing them to lose money. There’s also the small matter that no one is exactly sure how much money Vikings pulltabs will raise — Dayton guesses $62.5 million a year, but it’s estimated that as much as $80 million a year could be needed to finance VIkings bonds, since gambling revenue is considered a riskier revenue source. “If the electronic pulltabs just [don’t] work,” understated state senate majority leader David Senjem last Friday, “why, then, no one can probably vote for it.”

Dayton, for his part, tried to put a glass-half-full spin on things by saying that the Vikings bill has a “50/50” chance of passage, though by this he apprently just means that it could either win or lose. (His exact words: “You know, it’s there to be gained, and it’s there to be lost.”) And then there’s that whole Minneapolis city charter requirement that stadium spending requires a referendum (which could end up in court if Dayton insists on abrogating it), plus the majority of the Minneapolis city council that says it won’t move ahead without a referendum.

Add it all up, and the chances of a Vikings stadium bill passing anytime soon are … well, 50/50, but only if you allow that some 50s are more equal than others.

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4 comments on “Vikings stadium bill now hated by pretty much everybody

  1. Oh well, the whole thing will probably get settled the traditional way (the Sacramento arena is another perfect example) – just declare that the revenue source is deemed to be enough, and when it doesn’t pan out, you sell a hospital or someone’s firstborn or something.

    It’s not like the boosters of these deals actually care how the money gets extracted from the taxpayers; it’s the end result that matters.

  2. If only this were true. What you see now is pure posturing. Gov. Dayton will give something to Allied Charities and they’ll be just fine. Ray Bohn will be standing behind the Governor when he signs the bill. The only people who won’t get much of anything are the citizens of Minneapolis. Somehow, Mayor Rybak will manage to increase the city’s contribution (probably by raising the sales tax). I wouldn’t trust him to negotiate a car purchase much less the stadium.

  3. Until the public realizes how much they are getting hosed, this is not going to stop. Oh yeah, I believe Minnesota will get their stadium. Unfortunately, people are dumb and will approve this. Indianapolis has, or is going to learn how bad their deal was. If Luck(or Griffin) sucks, they are in for some pain!

    I really am disappointed that Michael Moore hasn’t made a documentary about all of this. He would get some great material and get awareness against these stadiums out there.

    But don’t tell him of course, Neil!

  4. There is no way that charitable gaming revenues will raise 62 million in new income. They are pulling those numbers out of their respective butts. No way. Where will the new gamblers with all that disposable income come from? If anything, some players will switch from paper to electric which will have a higher prize payout from the non profits. The electronic gaming also commands higher rent to the bar owners and the distributors of the equipment also are demanding a cut. The non profits are being told to bend over

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