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Poll: Majority Support Minnesota Tribal Casino Profit Sharing

7 February 2005

MINNESOTA – As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune: "About three in five Minnesotans believe the state's Indian tribes should be asked to share some profits with the state to keep their monopoly on casino gambling. An equal number favor some sort of metro area casino, if a portion of the profits goes into the state's general fund, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows.

"As several gambling proposals queue up for consideration at the Legislature -- from a harness racing track/card club in Anoka County to slot machines at Canterbury Park to Las Vegas-style gambling at the Mall of America -- public sentiment appears to support expanding gambling in the state, particularly if it can be used as a cure to some of the state's fiscal ills.

"Support for the two proposals is not just wide, it's strongly held, too. Nearly half of those polled strongly support Gov. Tim Pawlenty's negotiating with the tribes for more of the profits from their 18 casinos. About the same proportion -- nearly half -- strongly back a metro-area casino, if part of the profits were to go to the state.

"…Pawlenty's casino proposal, unveiled in a budget plan, would bring the state a one-time payment of $200 million in fiscal 2006 and $114 million a year beginning in 2008. The budget deficit for 2006-07 is $700 million.

"Pawlenty's plan calls for a consortium of tribes to select or form a management company to help run the casino with help from the Minnesota State Lottery.

"…The nine members of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA), which represents the tribes with the most successful casinos, have resisted Pawlenty's overtures for revenue contributions and now predict that any form of revenue sharing with the state is unlikely.

"After hearing the poll results, John McCarthy, MIGA executive director, acknowledged that more education is needed about the economic and charitable contributions the tribes make. He said that might be particularly true in rural Minnesota, where Indian casinos have spurred economic development and job growth…"

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