ST. PAUL (AP) -- Lawmakers discussed a plan Wednesday to build stadiums for both the Twins and Vikings by demanding a $450 million licensing fee from a private gambling company in exchange for permission to build two casinos in the Twin Cities area.
Rep. Tony Kielkucki, R-Lester Prairie, said his plan provides the state two premier stadiums and as much as $70 million a year from a 10 percent tax on casino receipts.
He wants private companies to compete for the right to build the casinos and pay the large upfront fee. In exchange, they would get 30-year gambling licenses and would help build the stadiums in partnership with the Twins and Vikings, who would each chip in money as well.
It's unclear who would own the stadiums. Kielkucki admitted the idea needs some refining.
For the plan to work, voters would have to amend a provision in the state constitution that prohibits private operation of casinos. The existing 18 casinos in Minnesota are run by Indian tribes, as permitted under federal law.
At a hearing of the House committee that oversees governmental operations, James Belisle, president of Multi Gaming Management of Edina, said a consortium of gambling companies are interested in Kielkucki's idea.
But critics faulted Kielkucki's plan for relying on public money to build stadiums.
And John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, said he opposes the state's entry into the casino business.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.