Deal local business a better hand

Charitable gambling at local businesses will boost state revenue.

Daily Editorial Board

Minnesota legislators announced a proposal this week that would allow local bars and restaurants to offer charitable gambling at their establishments. If the plan goes forward it will increase revenues for small local businesses, charities and the government.

The proposition will allow bars and restaurants to offer electronic bingo, electronic pull tabs and video lottery terminals at their businesses.

Profit Minnesota âÄî a group of almost 5,000 local bars and restaurants âÄî estimated charities will see increased annual revenues of $230 million if this bill passes. Government tax revenue will increase an estimated $630 million annually.

In addition to increased revenues for charities and the state, the availability of more gambling options should drive more traffic to local establishments. Profits will increase for bars and restaurants as well.

Minnesota has turned to charitable gambling profits twice before as a solution for extreme state deficits. In 1989 and 2003, gambling revenues for the government nearly doubled due to tax increases on charitable gambling and permit fees on gambling locations.

In light of the immense gridlock in the Legislature over how to best close the state deficit, any additional revenue streams will mean fewer tax increases or budget cuts.

Legislators need to find innovative ways to cut costs or boost revenues âÄî and this proposal is one of those solutions. Charitable gambling expansion is a means to boost tax revenue without enraging the public.

Past results provide evidence in support of this proposal. The expansion of charitable gambling is a royal flush for Minnesota.