Bill introduced to help fund stadium with gaming funds

A Republican representative and a DFL senator have introduced a measure that would allow casino-type gambling at the Canterbury Park racetrack to help fund a Vikings stadium.

DFL Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin sponsored the bill in the Senate, and GOP Rep. Tom Hackbarth of Cedar authored the bill in the House.

The state says a proposed $1 billion stadium in Arden Hills will need an additional $130 million in road improvements.

Hackbarth said he thinks it's the way to solve a funding gap in a stadium deal.

"You know, I've had this idea in the past to combine a casino or racino with a Vikings stadium, and I think it's the right way to go," Hackbarth said. "I don't think there's an appetite within this conservative Legislature that's going to bond or come up with some money for a Vikings stadium. I think this is the right way to go. I think in an end game deal, this could be the solution."

Stadium bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont, signed on to the Senate measure. But in the House, stadium bill sponsor Morrie Lanning reacted coolly to the idea of linking gambling to a Vikings stadium.

"I haven't been involved in that at all. And I don't know whether that has any possible life or not. Haven't really heard anything, haven't been involved, so I don't know."

Lanning said the House sponsor hadn't even asked if he wanted gambling revenue to help close an expected $130 million gap in stadium financing.