Canterbury Racino Plan Clears Another Hurdle

Plans for a racino at Canterbury Park continued to progress through the Minnesota legislature when the House Committee on Regulated Industries approved a bill March 29 and sent it to the House Committee on Taxes.

A Senate companion bill received its first hearing March 31 in the Senate Agriculture, Gaming, and Veterans Affairs Committee. The committee didn't take action on the measure.

The racino legislation authorizes the Minnesota Lottery to operate slot machines at Canterbury, located in Shakopee. The plan calls for 3,000 slot machines, 40 blackjack tables, an Olympic-scale equestrian center, and hotel and conference center.

Proposals to add slot sand video gaming at Canterbury have been considered by the Minnesota legislature several times since 1997. The House bill probably would have to clear the Taxes Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee before it's presented to the full House for consideration. 

"We continue to be pleased by the support for Minnesota's horse industry in the House of Representatives, but there is still no assurance that this bill or any gaming bill will be enacted into law this year," Canterbury president Randy Sampson said in a release. "Canterbury Park and our supporters will continue to work with legislators to make our case for how the racino can create jobs, grow Minnesota's horse industry, and generate new tax revenues for the state."

The House bill would award the track 55% of adjusted gross revenue from slots. Of that amount, no less than 7.25% must go toward purses, though the track and horsemen's group--in this case the Minnesota Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association--can negotiate a different amount.

Of the money set aside for purses, 20% must go to support purse supplements and awards for Minnesota-bred horses.

The bill also imposes a 5% tax on card club revenue. The license holder--Canterbury--would have to pay the state a one-time fee of $100 million, according to the bill.

Canterbury offers live racing, simulcasting, and a 24-hour card club. The track's 2005 meet is slated to run for 69 days from May 7-Sept. 5.