Should regular Minnesotans be permitted to operate their own taxable gambling facilities? Or should the Indian tribes be permitted to retain their monopoly on gambling? The tribes are unsurprisingly arguing that they should keep their monopoly, but what is more surprising is the face of their opposition.
Traditionally, Republicans in our state have had an unfavorable outlook on allowing anyone but the Indians to profit from gambling. By culture, Minnesotans view it as their job to micromanage the daily life, habits, and of course, morality of their fellow citizens. So many Minnesotans, and most prominently the Republicans, have traditionally opposed the idea of gambling that is run by other Minnesotans.
But is that necessarily the viewpoint of liberty-minded folks? Not as much. So what is surprising is that many of the most conservative Republicans in the legislature are going out on a limb by proposing that gambling rights be broadened to people outside of the tribes.
From Politics in Minnesota:
Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, is scheduled to present his racino proposal to allow slots in horse racing venues to the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, of which he is chairman. Also in the House, Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, has a bill in the Commerce and Regulatory Reform that allows e-pull tabs. Rep. RonShimanski, R-Silver Lake, recently introduced legislation that would allow electronic forms of gambling in bars, which the hospitality industry says would bring the state $630 million a year.
Speaking of Gunther’s racino proposal, the following legislators signed on as co-authors:
Bob Gunther, Mark Buesgens, Mike Beard, Tom Hackbarth, Joe Hoppe, Mary
Liz Holberg, Ernie Leidiger, Rod Hamilton, Pat Garofalo, Kurt Bills,
Carol McFarlane, Paul Anderson, Paul Torkelson, Sondra Erickson, Tony
Cornish, John Kriesel, Kelby Woodard, Denny McNamara
Some of these are RINOs (most prominently Denny McNamara and Rod Hamilton). There are a couple of conservatives (like Mark Buesgens). Will this convergence between the two factions be enough to bring racino and other expanded gambling rights to Minnesota? We shall see.