Rep. Tom Hackbarth Proposes Slot Machines at Minnesota Tracks To Help Finance Vikings New Stadium

Trying to encourage interest in a brand new Minnesota Vikings stadium, a Republican legislator on October 5th, 2009 proposed an amendment in the constitution to install slot machines to the state’s two horse racetracks and use the earnings to construct the stadium.

Representative Tom Hackbarth, (Republican-Cedar) said that his plan was a little bit of a change to a failed initiative earlier this year for a constitutional change to create another casino facility in Minnesota and put the earnings toward building a new Vikings stadium. Hackbarth said that his plan is different because it is not a gaming expansion since racing tracks in the state of Minnesota already permit card games.

Hackbarth said that he does not know what else that they should do to build a new stadium if they do not allow gaming. The lease of the Minnesota Vikings expires in 2011 at the Metrodome, a location that has been their home for more than twenty-five years but which the team says is now a financial burden. A spokesperson for the Vikings, Lester Bagley reacted cautiously to the proposal of Rep. Hackbarth.

Bagley, the team’s vice president for public affairs and stadium development said that they appreciate the effort being made by the legislators to help them have a new home. Bagley said that they have not spoken yet with Hackbarth about his slots plan.

Rep. Hackbarth, who is a 7-term legislator, said that he had not talked to any of the other players in the stadium issue, like legislative officials and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which owns the Metrodome.

Bagley said that should Hackbarth’s proposal gain political backing, they would have to obtain a clear decision from the National Football League, which has frowned on any connections between gaming and professional football.

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