Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another hurdle to gambling funding a new Vikings stadium -- State Constitution

At the Senate Tax Committee hearing, a number of folks testified in favor of expanding gambling to fund a new Vikings stadium.

Proponents trotted out a legal memo written on behalf of the racetracks by former Minnesota Chief Justice Eric Magnuson who said it wouldn't be a violation of the constitutional provision which authorized a state lottery.

Yet an op/ed in the Star Tribune authored by former legislators Gene Merriam and Dennis Ozment suggests another problem even if new casinos don't violate the constitution -- that's the constitutional requirement that 40% of the proceeds go to an environmental fund. If that's the case then they have a problem because the gambling proposals for the stadium funding earmark the lion's share of the proceeds to the stadium.

As legislators look for ways to proceed, the likelihood of a drawn out lawsuit and constitutional questions and problems should give them another reason to pause before proceeding down this road.

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