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Big Money Gambled on Minnesota

24 June 2004

MINNESOTA – As reported by the Associated Press: "Groups and companies with a stake in this year's gambling debate at the Capitol combined to spend more than $1 million on lobbying, and Caesars Entertainment Inc. was by far the highest roller.

"But being the biggest spender doesn't ensure success. Despite devoting $636,000 to the effort, the Las Vegas-based Caesars failed to make much headway in its bid to put a private casino near the Mall of America.

"The owners of the Canterbury Park horse racing track put $78,500 toward lobbying for slot machine privileges at the Shakopee track. They had the backing of the Republican-led House but didn't get very far in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"Interests backing expanded gambling outspent those trying to maintain the American Indian monopoly on casino ownership by more than 2 to 1. Together, the main tribal groups spent more than $320,000.

"…Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, is fighting to keep Caesars from building in her area. She was astounded by the company's lobbying bill and said it's a sign of the daunting challenge opponents like her face…"

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