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Published June 21, 2024

A casino worth betting on

The state would bring in revenue with a full-scale casino downtown.

Leave it to someone outside of the Capitol to figure out how to bring the state some revenue. The owner of the downtrodden Block E complex in downtown Minneapolis wants to develop a casino rivaling something out of Las Vegas. And for the sake of the state budget deficit, itâÄôs something worth betting on.

While making this a reality would take some time and possibly an amendment to the state constitution, itâÄôs worth a serious look.

The 213,000-square-foot Block E complex cost more than $130 million when it was built in 2002, with the city footing $39 million of the total cost. Since then, a downtrodden economy has crippled it and prevented it from becoming a thriving place.

Though an ominous $6.2 billion shortfall makes lawmakers wary of investment, this is a wise one. The state could find funding for a new Vikings stadium and higher education in the profits. It could also revitalize the downtown area, much like Target Field did last spring.

ThereâÄôs interest in gambling and the casinoâÄôs success is practically guaranteed. Both Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak arenâÄôt thrilled with the idea of expanding gambling, but both know a casino would generate needed money for the city and state.

Currently, gambling is limited. ThereâÄôs an agreement between American Indian tribes and the state that allows for blackjack and video slots on reservations. A full-scale casino would mean big changes. Appeasing the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association would be difficult but not impossible.

Making a casino happen benefits everyone involved and is a proposal lawmakers should not dismiss. A good idea is a good idea, and the state should double down on this luxury casino.

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