Capitol Awash in Gambling Proposals

Published June 1, 2005

Since Gov. Luther Youngdahl rid Minnesota of slot machines and gambling devices in the 1940s, gambling has inched its way back into Minnesota–evolving from legalized charitable bingo in the 1970s to a multifaceted and multibillion-dollar industry today.

Gambling boomed in Minnesota in the 1980s after Congress gave Indian tribes more authority to expand gambling, and Minnesota officials negotiated compacts with several tribes that allowed for video gambling devices and blackjack. Gambling has been a less-lucrative enterprise for the Northern Minnesota tribes than they had hoped, because of their remote locations.

During a March news conference announcing a proposed partnership with the northern tribes, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said, “It is time that Minnesota and the tribal governments who are represented as part of this partnership get a better deal, get a more fair deal.”

— Randy Wanke