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Bill ties racino to Vikings stadium

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 20, 2011 - 4:45 PM

Updated at 2:32 p.m.

Days before the Legislature is slated to adjourn, a bipartisan group of lawmakers dropped a bill Friday that would use racino profits to fund a new Vikings stadium.

The proposal, which was posted late Thursday night, allows Canterbury Park racetrack to install slot machines at their facility. The profits would be directed toward both a Vikings stadium and a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints.

DFL Sen. Dan Sparks authored the bill, which counts Republican Sen. Julie Rosen among its co-sponsors. Rosen also authored the original Vikings bill earlier this session. Republican Rep. Tom Hackbarth introduced a House companion Friday morning.

In March, lawmakers making the perennial push for racino decided to tie the profits to a special jobs fund. But that bill has languished in committee, where many believe it lacks the votes to move forward.

Backers of racino have repeatedly said the proposal could generate up to $125 million a year for the state. Gov. Dayton and lawmakers have capped the state's possible contribution to a Vikings stadium at $300 million. 

Friday's bill did not list a specific location for the new Vikings stadium. The Vikings have proposed a site in Arden Hills, while other forces have pushed for a location in downtown Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune previously reported that the Saints were looking for state aid to build a $50 million facility in downtown St. Paul.

NOTE: This post original said the bill would allow slots at Minnesota's two race tracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces. A Running Aces spokesman said the bill is crafted to exclude their track.

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