Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have reached a historic agreement in which the tribe will contribute millions of dollars over 10 years to track purses in exchange for Canterbury officials dropping racino legislation efforts, the Star Tribune is reporting.
Specifically, the article says the tribe has agreed to pay $3 million to enrich purses at the track this summer, $6 million next year, and the amounts will increase over the 10-year period. The pact halts efforts to put slot machines in at Canterbury, preserving the tribe's monopoly on that form of gambling.
Canterbury Park spokesman Jeff Maday told Patch Monday morning that they would have an official statement about the deal "at some point very soon." Shortly after he said that, a press conference was announced for 2 p.m. with officials from both the track and the tribe at Canterbury Park.
Canterbury officials and local legislators have been pushing racino legislation for 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.
Larger purses are expected to draw better quality horses to the track from around the country.
In May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation that will expand gambling at Canterbury, which was also born out of a deal with the tribe.
Specifically, 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.
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, also tweeted in support of the deal:
"WOW! Great news for Canterbury, horse racing, and private sector jobs in Minnesota!"
Another tweeter had a different take:
"@Ron_Rosenbaum: The deal between Canterbury and The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux is a two-way deal with the devil. Shame on both parties!"
Officials with the track and the tribe are holding a joint appearance at Canterbury Park at 2 p.m. to discuss the deal.
Check back for updates to this breaking news story.