ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota’s 18 Indian casinos employ more than 20,000 people, making it one of the largest industries in the state. But casino operators say expanding non-Indian gaming to help pay for a Minnesota Vikings stadium means casino job cuts of 30 percent.

“7,000 people could lose their jobs over this,” said John McCarthy, the head of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.

McCarthy says competition from slot machines at horse racing tracks will force casinos to cut workers.

“I think that they have discounted the fact that because it is tribal gaming, they’re not real jobs, but they are real jobs. Just ask the people who work there,” he said.

Lawmakers are debating whether gambling could help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Indian casinos don’t generate tax revenue, but Racino supporters say racetrack slots would, and revive Minnesota’s horse industry.

“Feed, vet work, you name it. It’s money and it’s a lot of money,” said Jeff Hilger, the head of the Equine Development Coalition of Minnesota. “Just that alone at the track would generate millions and millions of dollars to the state.”

Indian casinos are Minnesota’s sixth largest employer. That’s just behind Allina and just ahead of Wal-Mart.

They are the kind of jobs McCarthy says are very hard to get.

“If this was the 3M or Delta Airlines, don’t you think someone would say, ‘Hey, we better take a closer look and see what kind of impact it’s going to have on the existing industry,'” he said.

Most casino employees live outside the Twin Cities, get health care, and 75 percent of casino workers are non-Indian.

In rural counties struggling with a bad economy, layoffs could be devastating.

However, Ron Rosenbaum, spokesman for Canterbury Park’s Racino effort, says allowing slot machines at Minnesota racetracks could create more jobs.

Here’s Rosenbaum’s statement in full:

“As the number of casinos have grown over the past twenty years, the number of jobs in the hospitality industry have grown exponentially as well. With two new Racinos that will continue with the added benefit that increased purses will bring to the agricultural industry. But don’t take our word, look to Pennsylvania where Racinos have created thousands of new jobs.”

Pat Kessler

Comments (34)
  1. Swamp Rat says:

    Surprise! Funny how those benevolent original monopolistic casinos are screaming bloody murder to competition in the Twin Cities. No they won’t lose jobs or customers in their areas because they are in/on their own private turf. Most of those folks who work the Indian Casinos are from outstate MN and not the Twin Towns metro. Also, the newer gaming casinos will be in the Twin Cities and not near them.

    So what’s the beef? Do they pay the state taxes? Are they in danger of going bankrupt? I think not! Besides casinos are like coffee shops on the same block or same busy neighborhood. Competition keeps the shops viable if the product[s] are priced or interesting competitively. It’s a win/win situation. Now if the tribes want to pay MN taxes from all their casinos to manage the newer proposed Twin Cities casinos then maybe the state should reconsider. But, folks, wishful thinking about the Tribes paying taxes is a politically incorrect notion so let’s build the state operated casinos to pay for the new Arden Hills sports venue project! That’s only fair and competitive for all concerned.

    1. Dave says:

      Swamp Rat thank you for saving me a ton of typing. You are absoultely right on everything. Build the casino and let it pay for the stadium, unless the tribes wanna float the bill.

  2. zeek says:

    The only problem that I see with state run casinos it the phrase “state run”. It would make more sense to allow a private entity to open a casino in the Minneapolis area and have them pay taxes. This, and most, states are run by people that have absolutely no fiscal responsibility. If the state runs it, eventually we will have to bail them out. They could ruin a wet dream. Let the Indians continue to run their casinos. I will drive hours to give my money to someone other than them. With the tax advantages that they have been given, they should be embarrassed about the state of their tribe’s people. If you don’t believe me, walk around Red Lake at night. Give Running Aces and Canterburry the chance and see how it works. Better yet, give the tribes naming/advertising rights to the new field and let them pay for it, or let them know that their run is over.

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      When I use the term “…state run…” in relation to casinos I am meaning the state oversees operations &/or management by contractors &/or owners. These ‘private’ folks bear the preponderance of the business risk and accountability in running the casinos and showing a profit. The state just collects its tax revenues and any other related revenues for the state treasury. This is how it is done, for example, in Nevada and New Jersey. See what I mean. It’s a win/win for business and Minnesota.

    2. The Crux of the Buscuit says:

      ” states are run by people that have absolutely no fiscal responsibility. If the state runs it, eventually we will have to bail them out”

      Ever heard of TARP? THOUSANDS of financial institutions were given BAILOUT money. GM was bailed out. Remember the government bailout of Chrysler? Private companies large and small are run by people far more corrupt than any Government the US has had ever was, although GW tried his best……

  3. Susan says:

    Wait one minute. Why should Zygi Wilf get the proceeds from state run gambling?

    Why not use it for building bridges, schools, firemen, property tax relief, etc?

    He can build his own stadium or play in the dome or at TCF stadium.

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      Read my comments to ‘Zeek”. Zygi will NOT get the proceeds for state run gambling! Not only will it be used to pay the stadium bonding but could be used for other public uses[issues] and the MN Legislature or Governor sees fit. The people will own the stadium overseen by the Met Council Sports commission. Zygi has contractual/leasing rights to the venue for only Vikings related activities &/or games. If properly set forth in the Viking stadium agreements, the Vikes can’ be sold or leave town unless all contractual/leasing stadium agreements are fulfilled and are discharged free-&-clear.

      It behooves Zygi to pay off his debts with the people of Minnesota and make money since his future forecasted developments, in Arden Hills, will also be at stake. So you see Zygi has a lot to gain but also a lot to lose.

    2. Susan says:

      You are very mis-informed. Ziggy is investing 450 million into a stadium that he will lease. Ziggy would get nothing out of this except for the land surrounding the stadium which he will develope. HUH? Yeah thats right, he is going to invest even more by developing the land around it and creating more jobs in the area. I wish people who are opposed to this would step back and think critically and understand this would be a huge benefit to the area.

      1. think again says:

        The only cash benefit is to Zygi.

      2. Swamp Rat says:

        Susan, not so fast on the dislike Zygi schtick! Zygi stadium investment is like a down payment, of sorts, toward his taxes and venue commitments. His still will have to pay for the land surrounding the stadium if he wants to develop it. Yes, it will create jobs and economic benefits but in the end after all is said, done, and paid for the final result will be a people owned venue, Arden Hills viably developed, and an economic national site that benefits the state.

        My question to you is why the undertones of animosity toward Zygi Wilf and his business endeavors? Do your research. Zygi is a businessman who makes money the old fashion way–hard work and diligence.

        He is no flamboyant flashy Donald Trump but he is loyal to, tenacious and long enduring over the projects he develops. Also, he pays tons of tax revenues to the states he works in and, best of all, he is a closet private philanthropist who generously gives to many charitable causes

        Isn’t it time we give Zygi a little benefit of the doubt toward his MN dreams. In the end, Minnesota will make money on this Arden Hills deal if the politicos don’t blow it and Zygi is forthcoming with his plans and all. Just think, for every dollar Zygi Wilf makes in Minnesota there will be resulting tax revenues for this state. A win/win situation for all. Think about it and do the math and research.

  4. zeek says:

    I am confused. Will Zygi Wilf own the stadium? I must be misinformed. All of the things that you mention could have been built or done by taxing the Indian casinos. The fact that they have little to show for their profits makes it seem that they have mismanaged worse than our state government.

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      Your is NO! Zygi will not own the new stadium venue. He will be leasing it and rights thereto Vikings activities. The new stadium adds related value to the Vikings in the event, especially when the stadium is paid for. If the stadium contractual and subsidy payments &/or related commitments are not paid in full Zygi has to pay the state off before he leaves town. The stadium will be and always will be property of the people to use; if overseen properly; to use when there is not Vikings activities.

      1. zeek says:

        i was being sarcastic

  5. CJ says:

    McCarthy is clueless. Most of the jobs from the Indian casinos are not in direct competition with expansion at the two horse tracks. Besides, he is discounting the obvious increase in jobs that would take place with the expansion at the horse tracks. My guess it would be a wash and thus a win for the state as it would bring in more tax revenue. Regardless what the proceeds go to, to walk away from an estimated $133 mil per year in these economic times is crazy!

    1. foolish taxpayer says:

      UH? How much does your $133 Million a year cost?
      If we shell out 3.1 Billion dollars for his new toybox, how many years will it take to get that back?

      It is sad that people care so much about the ultra wealthy. Let Ziggy take his toys and go to another toybox or buy his own place. I need a job, not a better place to give money to the rich.

      1. frozenrunner says:

        @ Foolish where did you get the 3.1 billion figure from? In terms of benefiting the rich to create jobs you are correct. It is piontless to give the rich money thinking it will create jobs.
        @CJ The change in where gambling money is spent would cost no net jobs to the state, just revenue to the Shakopee tribe.. McCarthy is not clueless, rather just another political type skewing a fact to ft their need, as he is a spokesman for the tribes.

  6. Murph says:

    The race track is rather insignificant as would be the one armed bandits.A little competition never hurts the customer!In war a soldier deserves to be dead by another soldier.Yet our enemies have no such idea of fairness.As Americans we observe a deep revulsion of the thought of harming non combatants,our enemies lower themselves to near insect instinct and that is their problem.The prestigue they crave is lost,not by our victories,but by their own less than mammalian upbringing and reptilian leaders! Our deepest fear is that OUR civilian leaders might paint themselves with the same brush.That does not and will not be good enough,not for anyone! Saving even one life is worth more than the taking of thousands!Be proud America and hopefully proud of our leaders too! Hope should never be left waiting!

    1. Swamp Rat says:

      Are you on the correct thread????????????

      Strange tea you have been drinking………

  7. Paul Enloe says:

    Hey guys, if you want a stadium, build it!

    Poor Vikings, can’t buy their own playground.

    …jobs? how many full time people do the Vikings have? Is it right up there with 3M or Thompson/ Reuters?

    Being unemployed, it seems a waste to give tax money to someone that makes so much.

  8. Brad says:

    This argument does not hold up. The out state casinos will not see that much competition from Racinos. They are not setting up across the street from outstate casinos. Also, correct me if I am wrong, wouldn’t racinos only have slot machines still giving the Indian casinos a monopoly on black jack tables, etc.

    1. sid says:

      The tracks already have poker and blackjack, both of which are well attended.

  9. Mike says:

    Competition to Indian gaming will cost some jobs, but a more significant questions is, do we really need to have gaming revenue pay for a stadium? I have a hard time believing that state run gaming facilities will bring in enough revenue to pay the costs of a billion dollar stadium. Why not just add the cost to the price of a ticket and let the people who support the lifestyles of millionaire players and billionaire owners pay for it? In order for this concept to work, Viking fans will need to pull their derrieres away from their TV’s on the weekends to support the state run casinos. The likelihood of that happening is slim to none! I give this proposal an F and holding out as much hope of success as I would trying to bring back the rotary phone.

  10. Indian Casinos are Lying says:

    I had no idea that the two Casinos in the cities employed 7000 people. Oh wait, they will loose 7000 jobs? The only Casinos that would be affected are the ones in the cities. The ones outstate will be fine, a little competition never hurt. Lets see, you increase your payouts to compete, more people come to your site, thus more hotels rooms are taken more food is consumed and they claim they will have to lay off because of this? Sounds like you might have to hire to keep up. Lawmakers do not let them fool you one bit, competition is always good for business, but then I do not expect a monopoly to agree.

    1. Hellzbells says:

      The Indian casino in Shakopee well only suffer when US the PEOPLE stop playing,and spending our money there!!! Tribal Members well lose their 2wks of pay of 80,thousand Dollars in their pockets..No more money to buy whatever they want.I’m for the Casino on Block E. Mpls could hire more Police and put Law Enforsement back to work..You know they’ll need to hire more more Cops to keep the Riff Raff under control… BlockE needs a Face life…CASINO!!!

  11. oh pull your head out says:

    Zygi doesn’t need to won the stadium. Zygi doesn’t want to own the stadium. All Zygi wants are the profits the Vikings earn PLAYING in the stadium.

    So, no matter how you slice the cheese (taxes, expanded gaming, etc. – anything other than Zygi’s own money or proceeds from loans he obtains) does, IN FACT, get into Zygi’s pocket!

    He’s the one who profits, certainly NOT the citizens of MN.

    1. oh pull your head out says:

      won = own … sorry

  12. Hugh Gitlin says:

    If most of the casino jobs are in Greater Minnesota, how will competition from Twin Cities Racinos lead to job losses there?

  13. ordinary guy says:

    I don’t think that, with the overhead that a state-run casino would have, it could compete with the existing casino operations. Payouts would be driven higher and higher until one of the two failed. That favors the gambler, but only in a small way. Margins are not big for casinos, they rely on volume. A casino might easily be run at a loss in competition. Oops, no stadium.

    1. ordinary guy says:

      Smoking is allowed at tribal casinos, not likely at a state-run casino. How many smokers gamble, and how many gamblers smoke? Who’s going to run out to a sub-zero frozen snow-filled parking lot to smoke when they can go to a smoking casino? We’d be asking sporting event fans to bailout a failed casino.

  14. TW says:

    Every change that comes along will cost jobs. Prevent crime though some programs will lessen the need for cops which will be a good thing accepts for the cops who will need to find other work. The indian gaming argument that a state casino will cost jobs in unpersuasive.

  15. Julie says:

    This report is not accurate, Some of the Inedian Casinos do everything they can to not offer insurance. Such as make employees part=time and seasonal. I kjnow I worked at one for years.