05/01/2012 8:32AM

Canterbury Park: Bill that expands gambling and would raise purses passes in MInnesota


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – A measure that has the potential to raise purses at Canterbury Park up to 40 percent overwhelmingly passed both houses of the Minnesota legislature on Tuesday and awaits the signature of Governor Mark Dayton.

An amendment to a bill allows a significant expansion of gambling at Canterbury Park as well as Running Aces Harness Park. Under provisions of the amendment, the maximum number of table games at the tracks can be increased from 50 to 80; betting limits will rise from $60 to $100; the limit on the number of poker tournaments and tournament tables the tracks can run will be removed; and the rules of playing many of the table games will change from being “player banked” to being “house banked.” In a player-banked game, poker players compete against one another while paying a small fee per hand to the house. The switch to a house-banked game would allow players to compete directly against the house, the same way table games are played in Minnesota Native American casinos as well as casinos around the country.

Another key provision, which was hammered out between horse racing and casino interests, allows for the existing racetracks to conduct simulcasting and off-track betting at Native American casinos. It is the first time that the racetracks and Native American casino interests, longtime adversaries, have worked together on legislation. The two have been on opposite sides of proposed racino legislation for nearly a decade.

The measure takes effect the day after it is signed but there will be some lag time before implementation. Simulcasting agreements will need to be negotiated and infrastructure set up for both the casino OTB parlors and the increased number of tables at the racetracks. While there is expected to be a purse benefit realized during the 2012 season, the full effect of up to $2.5 million in additional purse money will not be felt until the 2013 racing season.

Live racing begins at Canterbury Park on May 18.