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Racino is dead: Canterbury Park and Mdewakanton Sioux reportedly strike agreement

The agreement allows the Mdewakanton to keep their monopoly on slot machines.
The agreement allows the Mdewakanton to keep their monopoly on slot machines.

Racino supporters have been trying to pass a bill allowing slot machines at Canterbury Park for the better part of a decade. A new agreement between Canterbury and the Mdewakanton Sioux presumably brings that push to an end.

Today, the Star Tribune reports that the tribe will contribute tens of millions of dollars to the horse-racing track over a 10-year period, beginning this year. In exchange, Canterbury officials and lobbyists will drop their effort to legalize off-reservation slot machines.

The amount contributed by the Mdewakanton to Canterbury will increase over the decade-long period and total about $80 million, the Strib reports.

Mdewakanton Sioux operate the nearby Mistake Lake Mystic Lake Casino, which would stand to lose a lot if Canterbury added slots. In fact, the agreement signals that the tribe believes it stands to lose more than $80 million over the next decade if it were to lose its slot monopoly.

Canterbury, meanwhile, can use the Mdewakanton's millions to attract better horses.
Canterbury, meanwhile, can use the Mdewakanton's millions to attract better horses.


The agreement, which is expected to be signed today, doesn't include the Running Aces harness racing track in Anoka County, but it's doubtful Running Aces would have the political muscle to successful lobby for a racino bill without the support of Canterbury.

From Canterbury's end, the $80 million supplied by the Mdewakanton will allow for larger race purses, which should enhance the quality of horses drawn to Canterbury from around the country. Overall purses are expected to double in size in the next three to four years.

Said a source to the Strib: "The racino wars have ended."

See also:
-- Senate committee kills racino bill


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