The Big Story Blog

3 things to know about gambling, Vikings and stadiums

Posted at 4:35 PM on October 28, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport


We were hoping for guidance today from lawmakers, Gov. Mark Dayton or anyone else on the next steps in the Vikings stadium quest. Didn't happen.

We ended the week with things even more fuzzy.Besides the proposal for a new stadium in Arden Hills that the Vikings say they really want, we now have three proposals from Minneapolis, casino proposals to pay for it but no consensus, yet, on the next step. Even the one thing that sounded certain -- a special legislative session to vote on a stadium by Thanksgiving -- didn't sound all that certain by this afternoon.

Given the ambiguity, here are some of the things we learned today.

1.) Nothing's decided. Two-plus hours of meetings between Dayton and key lawmakers yielded lots of discussion but nothing certain on how to pay for the state's portion of a Viikings stadium, about $300 million at the Arden Hills site. Dayton expects to meet with legislators next week and said he'll make a proposal by Nov. 7.

2.) A gambling fight won't be pretty. A casino seems like the least painful way to raise money to help fund a stadium there. But there's no easy money in this debate. From lawmakers philosophically opposed to more state involvement in gambling to Indian gaming operations seeking to protect their interests, it'll be a fight.

3.) Cultural heritage will be a stretch. Political contortions will be required to somehow define the Vikings as a cultural asset eligible for money from the state's constitutionally supported Legacy Funds. There's plenty of official guidance on the kinds of things the money is supposed to be spent on and none of it resembles a professional football team's need for $300 million. Going this route would require some policy nose holding equivalent to the 2005 decision to call a cigarette tax a health impact fee.

Learn anything today about gambling, heritage money or any other way to pay for a Vikings stadium that we missed? Post something below.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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