Canterbury Park Unveils Racino Proposal

Canterbury Park has unveiled a legislative proposal to support a $120-million racino development at its 380-acre site in Shakopee, Minn.

In an independent economic analysis commissioned by the track, a racino would generate at least $200 million in new tax revenue for the state during the first two years of full operation, according to a release from the track. GVA Marquette Advisors examined the growing demand for increased entertainment options such as slot-machine and video gaming in the Shakopee area.

Based on the conclusions of the report, 3,000 slot machines at the racino at Canterbury Park would generate $180 million in new state gaming tax revenues in the coming two-year period, including a $100 million up-front fee, from temporary gaming operations; generate at least $200 million in the following two-year period, when the racino is fully operational; create 1,300 full- and part-time jobs, as well as the equivalent of 650 full-time jobs in the construction of the facility; increase purses by $18 million, including $3.6 million for the Minnesota Breeders' Fund; and produce more than $9 million every two years in new taxes for local communities.

"As we look around the country, the racino model is working in states like Iowa, New Mexico, and Delaware," Randy Sampson, chief executive officer at Canterbury, said in a statement. "The Racino at Canterbury Park would generate substantial new tax revenues for the state and local governments, increase employment in our area, create higher racing purses for the horse industry, and pump more money into Minnesota's agricultural industry."

The Racino at Canterbury Park would combine existing entertainment options--live racing, simulcasting, a card club, live concerts, and special events--with new features including slot machines, an Olympic horse park, an agricultural events facility, and a hotel and conference center.

Sen. Dick Day, author of the racino legislation, said he's optimistic it would win approval of lawmakers.

"For the first time since I have been at the capitol, it looks like a majority of legislators agree the current system of gaming needs to change," Day said. "As legislators start to debate the proposals, I believe a majority of them will conclude that the (Canterbury racino) has the most benefits for Minnesota."

The plan includes construction of new indoor and outdoor arenas and a cross-country course for horse shows, funded with Canterbury's share of revenue from the racino. The impact to thousands of Minnesota horse owners would be widespread, track officials said.