White Earth tribe proposes casino for stadium

White Earth tribal chairwoman
White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor discusses a proposal to build a casino in the Twin Cities that would help fund a Vikings stadium at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

A Minnesota Indian tribe is proposing a partnership with the state to build a metro area casino and help fund a new Vikings stadium.

Officials with White Earth tribe unveiled their proposal Thursday for a 50-50 split of casino profits. But they say they have not yet calculated exactly how much that would be.

Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor said Minnesotans are not satisfied with any of the other stadium funding proposals. Vizenor said the metro casino plan is the only proposal that is fair to everyone.

"This solution could provide the entire public share of a new Vikings stadium and create new revenue for other critical state priorities, all with no new taxes," Vizenor said.

Legislation introduced this week to allow for the partnership has bipartisan support. DFL Rep. Kent Eken of Twin Valley said he thinks it has the best chance of any stadium-funding plan.

"This is the proposal that has the potential for gaining the greatest traction," Eken said. "Even for those who have some reservations and concerns about gambling, this I think would be the least objectionable of all of the proposals that are out there."

Tribal officials said they have no preference for where to locate the casino. Vizenor claimed that Gov. Mark Dayton is supporting the proposal. Minnesota's other tribes opposed a similar White Earth proposal in 2005.

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