Gov. Shutdown Would Mean Layoffs For Minn. Racetracks

SHAKOPEE (WCCO) — The countdown to a government shutdown has thousands of Minnesota families wondering if they’ll see a steady paycheck this summer. And it’s not just state workers who could feel the pinch in 16 days if lawmakers don’t agree on a budget.


Private workers at state-regulated Running Aces and Canterbury Park will also be laid off if the racetracks shut down. It’s because there will be no one to regulate gaming in Minnesota.


Approximately 1,000 workers at Canterbury Park and 500 workers at Running Aces could lose their job if there is a shutdown.


“This has a lot of different elements. There is no doubt about it,” said Bob Farinella, who runs Running Aces in Columbus, Minn., on the northeast side of the Twin Cities. “If we do not have the ability to stay open, we will shut down. We have no choice.”


Farinella sent layoff notices to his 500 employees late Tuesday afternoon, just 16 days ahead of a possible state government shutdown.


The state regulates gaming in Minnesota, but it’s the actual tracks that pay for the regulatory activities, which include inspectors and veterinarians.


Running Aces has already paid in-advance for these activities, about $750,000, according to Farinella.


“Our case is essentially we’re paying for the service, so let’s not shut it down, because it is being self-supporting,” he said.


Farinella said that his business supports the local economy and that’s another fear he has to shutting down the gaming operation.


“We have a large budget, $12-$14 million a year spent in the local economy buying products and services. So it’s a huge economic impact to the community, no question,” he said.


Canterbury Park, in Shakopee, Minn, has also told its 1,000 employees about a possible shutdown, temporarily. They were notified by management on Tuesday too.


Trainers who come to the complex to race from all around the country say they’d be force to leave if the place closes, and they’d take their horses and their own workers with them.


“We’ve got 1,200 horses here. We need every one of them. It would scare me if they would leave,” said Jeff Maday, a spokesperson for Canterbury Park. “If they don’t have a good experience here, there’s a 110 race tracks in this country that they could choose to run in. They don’t have to come to Shakopee to race.”


Managers from both operations will be meeting with State Gaming officials on Wednesday. They’re hoping to work out a solution to this issue.


State Gaming officials did not return several phone calls WCCO-TV made, requesting to talk with them about the issue.


  • RW

    Stupid, stubborn republicans.

    • GOP

      Shutting down Minnesota will be 3 months or more. This is our way to get rid of the poor, and middle class and unions. We gop hate everyone that is poor, and the middle class. you are all ass holes. We want to shut down Minnesota to hurt everyone but us. Suckers. We will have just the rich and poor!!!!! GOP Taking over and going to win!

    • tuna-free dolphin

      All Dayton has to do is sign the budget the GOP gave him. Who is stubborn?

      • Zeke

        Do you know anything about the GOP budget other than the final number on the bottom and the GOP proposed it? Second of all Dayton cannot sign what he vetoed.

        • Barker

          Dayton is responsible. He vetoed a bill that would have balanced the budget. He wants to tax the rich so he will sacrifice the poor to do it. I guess his grade as governor is the same as the Senate….F

          • Zeke

            The estimations of revenue produced by taxation in the GOP budget far exceeded the state projections for revenue. To balance the budget the GOP wanted a waiver that has never been granted by the federal government . Several other states have asked. A realistic hope for a balanced budget was not presented. Your grade would be F

            • Barker

              My grade doesn’t matter, I’m not the gov. He is in charge, he is responsibly. You like to blame T Paw or Bush when they were at the top but for Dayton, its not his fault. You can’t have it both ways.

              • Brian

                T-paw and Bush both had 8 years to run the state/country into the ground with their policies, moron. They spent two terms blowing through a surplus and creating a mess that can’t be fixed in one term. That’s the problem. Republicans point fingers over gas prices. How much higher are they now than when Obama took office? Yes they’re higher. However, they still aren’t as high as when your boy Bush was in office back in 07-08. You expect a first term president and a first term governor to fix a mess the republicans took 8 years creating. It doesn’t work that way.

  • dotherightthing

    Agovernment shut down has far reaching implecations for all minesotans, all highway projects come to a screetching halt, parks will close rest areas will be closed, try buying tabs for your car, this shutdown will hurt the tourism industry and will cost the state of minesota millons , and why? Because the Repulican Legislator wants to protect the 2% richest minesotans from paying the same percentage of taxes the poor and midle class now pay. Call your legislator and demand that they do the right thing and work for the 98% of minnesotans instead of working for the 2%, lets keep Minnesota working.

    • GOP

      Shutting down Minnesota will be 3 months or more. This is our way of getting rid of the poor, and middle class and unions. We gop hate everyone that is poor, and the middle class. you are all ass holes. We want to shut down Minnesota to hurt everyone but us. Suckers. We will have just the rich and poor!!!!! GOP Taking over and going to win!

    • Darren

      poor people, actually the bottom 50% don’t pay taxes at all, not sure what your talking about on this one.

      • Frank

        The lie on people who don’t pay taxes just keeps getting a bigger number. Soon it will be at 75%. In Minnesota the state figure was 28%. Reminder. morons. there are sales taxes and property taxes (Rent pays for property taxes) and fees galore to be paid.

        • stubby

          Frank you are dead wrong, it’s 48% of MN households pay no state income tax. They actually get a earned income check greater than the amount of money held out on their check. The top 2% pay 68% of the the state income tax. They also pay more in sales tax because they spend more. Time for everyone to pull their weight. Tax everyone.

          • GOP is a CULT

            The bottom 48% of workers don’t make enough money to pay income tax? That says more about the greed of the top 2%, than it does about hard working men and women.

            Must be hard to pay 2011 taxes with 1950 wages. All for the greed of the top 2%

            • stubby

              listen, they make enough to pay but it’s the state giving out the free-bees that is hurting the state. Tax credits for children, earned-income credits, property relief credits, the list goes on and on. TAX EVERYONE MORON AND THE PROBLEM GOES AWAY. NOT EVERYONE IS PAYING FOR THE SERVICES THAT YOU LIBS WANT THE TOP WAGE EARNERS TO PAY FOR.

          • Frank

            @ Stubby You need to look at all taxes paid to the state and local governments as taxes are collected from multiple sources, not just one.
            Try reading and you will find looking at income alone, the study says that taxpayers in the top 10 percent of households bore 38.5 percent of the total tax burden while earning 42 percent of the total income in the state. Meanwhile, those in the bottom 10 percent paid 2.4 percent of the total tax burden while earning 0.9 percent of the income.
            Earned income credit is a federal tax thing. Nice regurgitation of something you heard.
            So yes it is time for the top tiers to pull their weight.

            • stubby

              Those taxes that the bottom pay are not state income tax withholdings. They are the sales taxes, gas taxes etc. Make everyone pay state withholding. you are the one who needs an education on who actually supports this state.

              • Frank

                Total taxes as a percentage of income are more the bottom than the top. What difference does it make if it is income, sales, or any other tax? The only difference is that small stubby brained people only are capable of looking at one little small corner of the picture.

    • tuna-free dolphin

      They must have already laid off your spelling tutor. One SOB story after another.

      • Fern

        SOB does describe your attitude.

  • G Mason

    The Republicans are willing to destroy the economy. if they can not get their way.

  • Mike

    Why do race tracks “need” hands on regulators in-order to operate?
    Betting on races was going on long before the state got involved, and will be happening long after the state is gone.

    • jimmy

      So you would go back to when the MOB regulated the Race Track

  • MinnResident

    This is not a failure of the GOP. It is an utter failure of both parties. Dayton has let us down, The GOP has let us down Government, both nationally and locally has failed the tax paying citizens

    • Brian

      Agreed. I’m so sick of politicians protecting their own interests. There’s not one of them looking to protect anything but their own job. None of them wants to do what’s right because it may not please all of their constituency. And if the politicians are morons, guess who are the bigger morons….US. Minnesota voters are stupid! For 12 years now we will have had a governor on the opposite side of the aisle of the lawmakers. That’s 12 years of staring contests and no progress. No wonder this state is in the toilet.

  • mike


    You are correct. We should tax that 2% you mentioned. The money could be used to teach you spelling and proper gramar…

    • Beetle

      LOL Gramar??? Really!!

  • Victim Du Jour

    Class Warfare is a Nazi tactic and anti-14th amendment.

    The Government is required by law to tax everyone the same.

    Pitting poor and middle class against the richest is treason, and it does not belong in the United States.

    • Victum Du Jour

      If Hitler were alive today he would be the great white hope of the Republican party.

      • dan

        Idiot! On another story, you have been shooting your mouth off about how Hitler and the Nazi regime were socialist, government union supporters. Which is it??


    By the way, there are more then 2 racetracks in Minnesota. There are around 30 car race tracks too. But they can still run because the government doesn’t control them—–YET.

    • Nigel

      Is there legalized gambling at the car tracks? Are there animals that need to be health inspected and tested? Have you no clue as to why there were state regulators are there?

      • DARREN

        actually remember car race tracks sell food, so that means a health inspector has to pay a visit, as do property tax accessors and also building inspectors. Everything is regulated at every business. You just don’t need government employees to run the place just approve it.

  • tuna-free dolphin

    Gambling is not a business the government should be in in the first place. The only reason they do it is because there are so many fools willing to surrender their pay checks for the lure of a big win that it’s a big fat guaranteed source of cash for them to blow. A fool and his money will soon part. Closing down gambling would be a God send, especially for the poor who are hurt the worst by it. This is actually a good thing. The suckers get to hang on to their cash for a while longer, and our morbidly obese govt. gets to go on a much needed diet. Everybody wins.

    • Fern

      Concern for the poor coming from the keyboard of Tuna? No personal responsibility line for people? Changing your political view to suit your negativity needs SOB boy?

      • tuna-free dolphin

        Who do you think gets to take care of the poor after they blow their check at the track? Me! Make no mistake about it, my concern is not for the plight of idiots. I’m just tired of paying the freight. I couldn’t care less about gambling either. As long as people on the dole aren’t doing it. I bet if people had to produce proof that they weren’t on govt. assistance in order to gamble, casino revenues was drop a lot. Personally I think it’s a foolish habit unless you have money to lose, and I don’t. If I did I could just as easily flush cash down the toilet without even leaving the house.

  • Beetle

    I got an idea how about they just do their JOB! When they shut down I cannot wait to see the response..

  • Mark from

    Shut it down!

    • Emmers

      Ever notice that conservatives scream shut it down one moment , then try to blame Dayton the next. What a bunch of phonies.

  • mikeypk

    Does that mean without someone to monitor gaming that pull tabs and the lottery will also have to shut down?

  • gdog

    The govenor is going to cause government to shut down to cause as much pain as he can inflict on the citizens of this state. He is throwing a temper tantrum because he’s not getting what he wants. He has no idea what a balanced budget even looks like, he’s only concerned with raising taxes.

    • GOP is a CULT

      It’s Republicans that are screaming shut it down, just read this board.

      Dayton is just trying to tell people what happens if Republicans get their way and shut the state down.

      • Brenda

        As I see it, its the Daytons call. He can shut it down and whine like a two year old that he didn’t get his tax on the rich or he can keep it open and reduce our spending. His choice.

        • Rico Suave

          Nicely put Brenda. Short and sweet. Be thou mine. Marry me!

  • stubby

    The libs sit and dream up every government program that they think we need. Then they want the top 2% to pay for it. Socialism alive and well in the lib world. Stop spending money we don’t have and stop trying to get the top 2% to pay for everything. Raise taxes on EVERYONE and cut spending.

  • tbracingfan

    Shutting down Minnesota’s two horse racing tracks would be a nail in the coffin of the equine industry in Minnesota. Minnesota’s equine industry is huge – we rank 9th in the nation in the number of horses. While the racing industry is a very small portion of the equine population, study after study has shown that as go a state’s racetracks, so goes the state’s equine industry. Horses have a huge impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy every day! Horses need feed, bedding, buildings, fences, farm equipment, tack, trucks/trailers, not to mention the farmers, breeders, owners, veterinarians, farriers, boarding operations and others on a daily basis! The State of Minnesota seems to have no issue with gambling with our industry or the finances of its’ State employees. Does anyone else find this more than slightly hypocritical?

    • Rico Suave

      GOP’s latest victim. The horses. B.S. Your data is a bunch of equine scatology. Of all the horse in the state or any state for that matter, the percentage of horses in the racing biz in miniscule. Teenie-weenie. We’re talking Anthony Weiner small. You think race horses are the only ones who need bedding, farriers, feed, vets, boarding, etc? Don’t be a horses arse. If racing is important to you financially, your best course is to get government out of it forthwith. In case you haven’t noticed or have been in a coma for a few decades, government doesn’t exactly have a good head for business. Nice crack at laying the shutdown off the GOP though. Tell the chump you elected to sign the GOP budget so you and your lib-limo friends can have your fun. But don’t keep asking me to pay for it.

      • tbracingfan

        Rico Suave – did you really read what was written? “While the racing industry is a very small portion of the equine population…” Obviously every horse needs those things and every horse contributes to the agricultural industry that Minnesota prides itself on! Furthermore if you listened to/or read the story, you’ll realize that Canterbury Park and Running Aces have already paid the regulatory fees – which cover the salaries of the State employees and other costs as required – to the State of Minnesota. Before you start referring to someone as a horse’s posterior, perhaps you should get your facts straight and be aware that the State of Minnesota’s taxpayers are not paying one thin dime to either of Minnesota’s tax-paying race tracks. If you don’t like horse racing, don’t go! If you don’t like Card Clubs, don’t go! If you don’t like casinos, don’t go! I’m not blaming the looming shutdown on any particular party — the Legislators and the Governor were elected to do a job and they acceped that position. Their job is to do the State of Minnesota’s work in a pre-defined time frame. That didn’t happen. The rest of us shouldn’t have to suffer.

  • GOP

    Shutting down Minnesota will be 3 months or more. This is our way to get rid of the poor, and middle class and unions. We gop hate everyone of you poor, and middle class ass holes. We want to shut down Minnesota to hurt everyone but us. Suckers. We will have just the rich and poor!!!!!

  • Rico Suave

    Boo hoo. Sniff sniff. The poor have been riding in the wagon while we in the middle have been pulling it for too long. Most conservatives aren’t rich. I’m so tired of the sob stories from the left. I say let em starve, then harvest their organs and recoup some of the cash we’ve been throwing at “the poor” who in spite of all the help they’ve gotten from the middle, never seem to get off the government teat. LBJ started throwing cash at the poor 40 years ago and all it’s done is create a career welfare class. It has hurt the poor, not helped them.

  • Tex Johnson

    There does not have to be a Shut Down of the Government. Just have the Governor sign the Extension of the Present Budget, until a Deal can be made.
    Why doesn’t the Press, Media, and these Blogger’s get it RIGHT, and start Reporting the Facts.???

  • ns

    and they want a rasino. how is a rasino gonna work if the gov. is shut down

  • MattMN

    I agree – keep government funding at current levels and figure out the budget like civil adults. Dayton is throwing a tantrum, but the Republicans couldn’t negotiate their way out of a paper bag. Pawlenty played a lot of accounting games when he was governor, and Dayton is digging us in a deeper hole. Let’s face it – both sides of the aisle made a bunch of promises that they couldn’t keep. The math, and the current economy, will bear out the truth, which is that we are overspending in this state (and nationally as well, but that is another issue). The simple answer of “tax the rich” will not work. However, Dayton has now boxed himself into a corner, since he now needs to stand behind the rhetoric of his campaign. The Republicans, like idiots, began the negotiations with no wiggle room and likewise boxed themselves into a corner. I don’t believe we should be raising taxes – we should hold the line on spending and make a deal. Welcome to the new normal. Like it or not, we need to grow up and realize that we cannot raise spending year over year and that we cannot tax our way into prosperity. We can face our problems head on like adults, or let the math force us into austerity. The choice is ours – for now.

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