Citizens speaking out against racino

Minnesota citizens are speaking out against the racino, and giving their legislators an earful. According to statistics from the MIGA Website Action Center, more than 100 Minnesotans have emailed Governor Dayton and their local legislators with messages over the past 24 hours opposing the racino and other proposed forms of gambling expansion. Many of those messages have been targeted to Sen. Claire Robling and Rep. Michael Beard, who represent District 35, where the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is located. Robling is a strong supporter of the racino.

The media are hearing from racino opponents, too. The March 12 edition of the Prior Lake American carried a powerful letter to the editor from Ted Guth, a savvy Prior Lake resident, who raised some important points about the racino proposal. Here’s the complete text of Ted’s letter as published.

If racino is a must, money’s not Zygi’s

In response to the racino story appearing in last week’s Prior Lake American, I felt the need to offer my opinions relative to racino and the intended use of racino tax money.

Some people aren’t excited about the proposition of expanded gambling. On the other hand, some people think that $125 million racino dollars flowing into the depleted general fund would be nice. Although I have lived in Prior Lake for many years, I have never stepped inside of the Mystic Lake Casino. Quite frankly, I am not a big supporter of gambling, either tribal or other forms of state licensed gambling. That said, I would like to offer two opinions I formed after reading the article.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) will be hurt by the state Legislature approving a racino at Canterbury Park. I don’t think enough recognition and credit is given to the SMSC/Mystic Lake for what I see as non-gambling expansion of their facilities. They have spent millions of their own dollars expanding non-gambling entertainment such as concert arenas, health clubs, indoor skating rinks, golf courses, RV camping facilities, restaurants and more.

State and local economies have benefited from the SMSC providing both construction jobs and permanent employment. Many residents of this area enjoy these non-gambling facilities. I doubt very much if Canterbury Park or Running Aces Harness Park have any intentions of duplicating the SMSC’s non-gambling amenities. The SMSC has done nothing wrong. The only thing they are guilty of is responding to the public’s desire to be entertained, and satisfying this desire by spending their own money and growing their enterprise.

I strongly oppose any racino tax money used to fund the construction of a Vikings stadium. As a Republican, I have supported Sen. Claire Robling in each election; however, I disagree with her desire to “skim” racino tax proceeds and give it to the Vikings. I would happy to show Robling many examples of other essential needs and services currently suffering after another round of budget cutting. I can’t believe it’s in the best interest of the citizens to fund a Vikings stadium while reducing the funding of health and human services, aid to local governments, transportation, etc.The article said, “A 2010 Survey USA poll found that 80 percent of 500 Minnesota adults surveyed approve of a racino proposal.” I hope Robling isn’t confused by this poll and think that those who support a racino want its tax used to fund a Vikings stadium. In reality, 75 percent of taxpayers do not want public funds being used for the construction of a Vikings stadium.

If and when expansion of state licensed gambling is allowed, the money should go directly into the state general fund. After that, this money should be redistributed to fund the necessary and essential services throughout the Minnesota. Potential racino tax proceeds belong to the citizens of Minnesota, not Zygi Wilf and his business associates from New Jersey.

Ted Guth, Prior Lake MN

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