In essence, the agreement gives Canterbury purses an added $75 million in the next ten years and ends Canterbury's push for racino legislation.
The meeting, held at Shakopee Police Department, took several hours as many of 100+ people in the room and lobby of the building clamored to give input for and against.
John Derus, who spoke on behalf of Running Aces, told the commission the deal would hurt them.
"We see no problem with them not pursuing Racino," said Derus. "(But) we see a lot wrong with them going against it, and acting as an agent of the Mystic Lake."
They also asked that the vote be postponed and wanted some provisions of their current contracts revamped. While several commissioners echoed that sentiment, Commission Chair Jesse Overton said the meeting Wednesday was about Canterbury and not about renegotiating contracts.
"This is an agreement about purses and marketing," he said.
Under the agreement, the tribe has agreed to pay $75 million in the next 10 years, starting with $2.7 million to enrich purses at the track this summer. They will contribute nearly $6 million next year, and the amounts will increase over the 10-year period.
The pact halts the efforts of Canterbury to put slot machines in at their facility, which will ensure the preservation of the tribe's monopoly on that form of gambling, at least in the immediate vacinity.
Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said although Canterbury has lobbied for years to have slot machines put in, the goal was always to raise revenue for larger purses, which, in turn, would uplift a declining horse breeding industry in Minnesota.
The increase in purse winnings will also mean Canterbury can compete with with Arlington racetrack in Chicago and Prairie Meadows in Des Moines, Iowa, Sampson said.
This agreement will also allow for new joint marketing opportunities between Canterbury Park and SMSC’s Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, taking advantage of their proximity to one another in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, including annual payments to Canterbury Park for joint marketing totaling $8.5 million over the ten years.
Canterbury officials and local legislators had been pushing racino legislation for some 15 years, without success. At one point in the session this year, racino was tied to the Vikings stadium legislation – as a funding source. Pull tabs were embraced instead.
In May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation that will expand gambling at Canterbury, which was also born out of a deal with the tribe. It allows expanding the number of tables from 50 to 80 and increasing the poker bet limit from $60 to $100. It also removes limits on the number of poker tournaments that can be conducted, as well as limits on the number of tables used in poker tournaments, among other amendments.