ST. PAUL (AP) -- A House committee on Friday rejected seven proposals to expand gambling in Minnesota, virtually ending the Legislature's debate on the matter for the current session.
Supporters for more casinos and other forms of gambling vowed to press on in the Senate. But Friday was the deadline for committees in both the House and Senate to pass policy bills on to their colleagues, making further action unlikely.
During a daylong hearing, the House Governmental Operations and Veteran Affairs Committee soundly defeated bills for a state-run casino, sports betting and to put slot machines at a horse track Shakopee.
Supporters argued revenue could be used to help state coffers, now about $2 billion short, and to help pay for new pro baseball and football stadiums.
Opponents said there's plenty of gambling in the state already and some argued gambling is morally wrong anyway.
Arlene Reed of Oakdale told the committee she was a compulsive gambler and that it ruined her life. "The lure of the casinos and the big win were a constant in my life," she said. "Many days I would show up to work with little or no sleep at all."
Representatives of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association told lawmakers that a state-run casino would harm the existing 19 casinos run by Indian tribes. Since the casino was proposed for the Twin Cities area, Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake and Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing would feel the most competitive pressure.
Backers of the state-run casino savvily promised to share revenue with two Chippewa tribes from northern Minnesota whose existing casinos generate less revenue due to their remoteness.
The leader of one, Red Lake Tribal Chairman Bobby Whitefeather, said the new state-run casino would help his tribe.
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