John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA), said today that MIGA tribes will oppose any effort to introduce new lottery games played on electronic monitors at numerous locations across the state.
The MIGA statement came in response to news that Minnesota State Lottery Director Ed Van Petten has proposed the introduction of keno or other electronic games to ensure adequate funding for the Vikings stadium.
“The Minnesota legislature and the Governor considered many alternatives for Vikings stadium funding last year,” said McCarthy. “We worked closely with the charities and other groups to arrive at a funding plan the tribes could live with. But we can’t live with electronic keno and other lottery games in every bar and restaurant in Minnesota.”
Although lottery officials claim to have authority to adopt the new games under existing law, McCarthy said there would undoubtedly be legal challenges if the games were introduced.
“The original lottery legislation was written narrowly to satisfy those who were uncomfortable with state-sponsored gambling,” McCarthy said. “The scratch-off games are consistent with current law; adding electronic monitors that could easily be converted to full-blown slot machines was never envisioned, and we have no doubt that it will be aggressively contested.”
McCarthy said he agrees with Governor Dayton that it’s premature to be talking about new stadium funding sources before fully tapping out e-pulltabs and the other back-up mechanisms authorized in the 2012 funding bill.
“Every time somebody in Minnesota comes up a dollar short to pay for anything, they start talking about expanding gambling,” the MIGA director said. “We’re getting used to it, but that doesn’t mean we won’t fight back with every tool at our disposal.”