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Ed Van Petten, executive director for the lottery, said that he has had several discussions with Dayton’s staff about backup funding options, but has yet to talk about anything seriously. He plans to meet with the governor’s staff again Tuesday.
Van Petten said it’s possible that a combination of games — from scratch-offs, which could raise several million dollars, to electronic poker or Keno — could be part of a solution to help bridge the funding gap.
“But my fear in doing that is we’ll cannibalize charitable gambling and jeopardize those great programs,” he said. “We’ve got to be careful we’re not taking away from other good causes.”
That said, Van Petten said that he believes electronic pulltabs and bingo games will eventually catch on, and in a big way.
“I really do think once they get the bugs worked out of those e-pulltabs, it’ll generate a lot of money,” he said.
Several other ideas, including user fees on tickets, concessions and parking, adding a tax on professional sports memorabilia and installing games at the state’s two race tracks, Running Aces and Canterbury Park in Shakopee, also have surfaced at the Capitol.
While the state’s tribal casinos have historically opposed the racino concept, Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, said that, if approved at both tracks, it could generate more than $100 million per year.
“It’s not taxpayer dollars, it’s voluntary contributions to folks that want to go and play slot machines,” Hackbarth said. “We’re looking for money now. ... So I think this is a good alternative to get money for the state general fund.”
Staff writer Jim Ragsdale contributed to this report. Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425
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