MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Canterbury Park has reached a deal with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to offer simulcast wagering on horse races at the tribe’s northern Minnesota casino.
The first-of-its-kind agreement follows legislation passed in 2012, enabling Minnesota tribes currently allowed to conduct casino gaming to receive telecasts of horse races from tracks around the world.
“We are excited to work with Leech Lake to bring horse racing entertainment to northern Minnesota, where there are a lot of racing fans who have never had the opportunity to watch and wager on races from all over the country,” Canterbury Park President and CEO Randy Sampson told WCCO Radio.
Money wagered on simulcast races at the the Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Events Center in Walker, Minn., will go toward improvements on Ojibwe land and partially fund live racing purses at Canterbury Park.
Currently, simulcast wagering on thoroughbred and quarter horse races is only allowed at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. Running Aces in Columbus, Minn., only offers harness wagering.
Under the five-year agreement, the maximum length allowed by the 2012 legislation, LLBO will be solely responsible for simulcast operations within their casino. Canterbury will provide management and consulting services to LLBO that are necessary for simulcast wagering on thoroughbred and quarter horse races, including obtaining telecasts, wagering equipment, marketing and accounting.
“There is significant interest in live horse racing in northern Minnesota, so we see a great opportunity to meet customer demand and continue to support our mission of community development,” Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Chairwoman Carri Jones said in a statement. “We are thrilled to create these agreements with Canterbury Park and the organizations that represent world-class thoroughbred and quarter horse racing.”
The agreement is subject to approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Minnesota Racing Commission. While there is no timetable for the next steps, all parties are optimistic that this can become a reality in the coming months.