May 04, 2012

Gambling revenues could again play role on proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium

The on-going plans for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium is finally moving along after a floor vote in Minnesota’s state Legislature has been scheduled to take place next week.

The latest development in this on-going saga comes after Republican legislative leaders pulled their proposal to finance a new $975 million off the table. With one proposal dead, an old one resurfaced, one that involves the use of gambling revenue to pay for the share the state will carry in financing the building of the stadium. The House has scheduled a vote next Monday to determine whether this new proposal has the legs to carry on the wishes of replacing the old Metrodome, the home of the Minnesota Vikings, in favor of a brand-new stadium.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, an opponent of the new bill, officially served notice to Gov. Mark Dayton that the ball is now firmly in the latter’s hands. “The fate of the stadium is now in the governor’s hands…This is his top priority,” the speaker said.

For his part, Gov. Dayton is now asking residents of Minnesota to make their voices heard in support of this new proposal. “I ask all Minnesotans, who care about the stadium, to contact their legislators and urge them to vote “Yes” next Monday,” the governor said in a statement.

It’s been no secret that the Metrodome is one of the most out-dated stadiums currently being used in the NFL. It’s roof actually collapsed spectacularly a few years ago from the immense weight of snow that had fallen on top of it. The Vikings have, for the longest time, pursued the building of a new stadium that will be subsidized by tax money and the pressure for a decision has been ratcheted up now that the team is out of a lease binding them to play in the old stadium. If nothing comes to pass, the Vikings have been considered as a prime candidate for relocation.

The existing proposal that’s scheduled for a vote next week would involve the team putting $427 million in private financing on the table with the rest of the money to be collected from sales taxes derived in the city of Minneapolis, as well as gambling taxes that will be collected by the state. If this bill pushes through, bars and restaurants that are currently offering small gambling operations would be given allowed to expand their establishment’s gambling choices, which would then increase profits, leading to more state money that could be used in financing the stadium.

However this soap opera plays out, you can be sure that there’s going to be animosity on both sides of the fence. Stadium politics has become an increasingly contentious topic for a lot of states and the on-going debate on how to finance a project that could hit the billions is something state leaders aren’t taking lightly. Opinions will clash, lines will be crossed, and principles will be tested.

But for the sake of everyone who loves and supports the Minnesota Vikings, we’re just hoping that something is done to ensure that the team stays where they belong.

And if the state can generate enough money from gambling revenue, then it’s an avenue that’s certainly worth looking into – again.

No comments:

Post a Comment