By Esme Murphy

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether it’s racinos or a downtown Minneapolis casino, many proposals have been launched over the years claiming state and local governments deserve a shot to cash in on casino gaming.

But some say the deal Minnesota’s tribes made with the state back in 1989 set up a playing field that has made it very hard, if not impossible, for gambling to expand.

Back when Rudy Perpich was governor, congress passed a law allowing tribes to establish casinos. But first the tribes would have to negotiate an agreement with their state.

Minnesota was the first in the country to reach an agreement with any of its tribes and the agreement, according to critics, was a disaster for the state — Minnesota would not get a cut — the tribes would get all of the profits.

Connecticut gets 25 percent of all slot machine profits from its Native American casinos — roughly $200 million a year.

Professor David Schultz said back in the 80s Minnesota negotiators never imagined how successful the casinos would be.

“I don’t think anyone ever envisoined that it would be an enormous big business — an enormous profit center — for the Indians and potentially the state of Minnesota,” he said.

But efforts to pass racino, riverboat gambling or other casino-type ventures has failed over the years in part because of religious and moral opposition — and in part because of intense lobbying and political contributions from Native American tribes.

In 2010, Native American groups donated $1.2 million to mostly DFL candidates, part of an intense and ongoing effort to barr competition to their casinos.

The agreements with the Minnesota tribes can only be renegotiated if Native American groups want to.

Native American groups say the success of their casinos is deservedly theirs in light of the history of mistreatment they have suffered.

Esme Murphy

Comments (24)
  1. captainobvious says:

    Regular old pity party for the engines, as ive stated 10times they’re pocket greasers, they line political pockets and they keep monopoly, if they wanted on-site prostitution they could buy that also

  2. stillobvious says:

    Im surprised i care so much seeing as i dont even go to casinos anymore except for i enjoy Vegas. Id rather lose $150 on pulltabs BS’ing at the bar with working people.

  3. Moreobvious says:

    when i say people i mean tax=paying human beings, sorry no offense Chief dragging knuckles

  4. tom says:

    Give em some competition, state run or private casinos. The DFL works for the Tribes in this state and that has got to end.

    1. Ken says:

      It’s time for a change, 1989 was a long time ago. The State needs to get in on the action too.
      You live in Minnesota and use your souvenir nation status when it suites your needs, like not having to pay state taxes on all the income you haul in yet you use all of the amenities this state has to offer, which bye the way are provided by the taxpayers.

      In case you missed the news lately our state is almost 6 billion dollars in debt. Some new measures need to be implemented to help generate more revenue. Perhaps if you weren’t supporting all of our legislator’s campaign funding some of them would pull their heads out of your wallets and vote to build a casino near the Mall of America. I’m sure the tribes could care less about the good all this extra state TAXED money could do to help balance our budget, and create new programs to help the unfortunate people which are in need now more then ever. Thousands of Minnesotan’s have lost their jobs, homes and way of life yet a few hundred of you who are already millionaires ten times over still don’t want to share a piece of the pie. How much money do you think you really need? Your greed is beyond disgusting

  5. TheTruth says:

    Yep I agree. If we’re looking at Conneticut’s numbers, $200 million would be a nice chunk of change for the state. And I’d bet we could get more here. I’ve got nothing personally against the native american casinos, but the monopoly’s got to end. And don’t give me this “history of mistreatment they’ve suffered” b.s. Sure, back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, but not now. Nothing since the civil rights movements. And what about the other’s who have endured racism and prejudice? We’ve got African Americans and Hispanic citizens who’s ancestors were treated poorly. If Native Americans are given concessions, why not everyone else?

  6. john says:

    Chief Dragging Knuckles? Your disgusting. Where do you hide your hood and white sheet?

  7. Interesting says:

    I am not a gambler so not sure I am even commenting on this, but Native Americans have been mistreated, but at some point they can no longer use that excuse. They’ve been given lots and lots of money by the Federal Government and each individual state for many years. At this point, they are pampered.

  8. captainobvious says:

    Theres a couple bj dealing posts on craigslist, need experience and have to pay to train, lol, and it pays $7.25 min. wage plus tips lol…..Way to make high paying jobs, little engines that can’t, Wee Mystic

  9. Don says:

    I’m a tribe registered Native and I’ve never received so much as a penny from the federal or state government. Where does this misconception come from that Native Americans get money from the government? Tribes have no monopoly on gambling. Minnesota has laws against gambling at the level everyone is arguing about here. The tribes have casinos on land that is outside of state or federal jurisdiction. The “pact” the tribes have with the state do not prohibit MN from changing the laws and making gambling legal.

    1. jim says:

      the indians get the money through road repairs, stocking the lakes with fish just so the indians get net them.indians got homes and furnishings given to them. Go to the bemidji/Bena area to see for yourself. And where did this money come from? it wasn’t from your pocket.

    2. Revdude says:

      Sice you said “I’m a tribe registered Native and I’ve never received so much as a penny from the federal or state government.” then how much do you get from the tribe that is not taxed by the state?? If you do pay minnesota income taxes then you may not be one of the chossen few that live of the gamming profits.

  10. Don says:

    If any of you racist brain dead morons would care to meet up in person, I would be more than happy to educate you on today’s Native Americans. But I can almost guarantee none of you would be as courageous in person as you are behind your computer screens.

    1. stillobvious says:

      Don the pity party is almost over, you better cashout, id tell anything to your face, your nothing here, and even less in your life….

  11. ByeByeBush08 says:

    Comment about pocket lining by Native American is unjust due to that is how lobbyist/government roll. Every interest group does it and Native Tribes due it because that is the ONLY way Government listens. Have you paid attention on how political dinners or fund raisers get money? Government is the money Hogs, they will get gambling and still will need money ten years from now because casinos didn’t cut it. I am Native American and pay 38% in taxes(state and federal because I don’t live on Tribal land) on my per cap.

    1. stillobvious says:

      Donk Savant every1 does it to a point, to help persuade but indians have enough money to flat out get it done. Im not talking dinner fundraisers i mean flat-out envelope handing money under the table. Please tell me an example where a current group pays lobbyists to maintain a lucrative monopoly?

  12. Joe says:

    The current system is basically ‘reverse discrimination’! Why should only one select
    group be allowed to have legalized gambling? That is bull-roar! Open it up for each and every little group; Polish American, Norwegian American, Irish American, mixed Heritage American, Black Americans, Mexican Americans, and etcetera!! Why not? Competition is supposed to be good!!

  13. Mike Hawk says:

    It seems every body wants some thing for little to nothing yet it’s the working people who pay for it all. Color & race is too much an issue, what we as a country need to focus on is how to better ourselves. Leave the natives alone & stop breaking every agreement that is made with them.

    1. successNOT says:

      Spoken like a true i9ndian Mike H. Isnt a monopoly on gaming something for nothing, and their cetainly not working for their wealth, enter foot in ur mouth

  14. BUDGET BUSTERS says:


  15. Don says:

    it is fair! the state can build casinos if it wants to.