Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota, passed a bill on Friday for the expansion of Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park, which happen to be two major race tracks in Minnesota adding poker rooms to the complex.
This bill comes as a solution to a long standing problem between the two race tracks, which had been attempting to provide more casino and poker gaming services, in addition to horse race betting. The bill was passed by the governor of Minnesota despite the fierce protests of native tribe groups who were against such an expansion as it would mean stronger competition and incur a loss of customers for them.
The bill was passed by the Minnesota Senate last Saturday, and now that it has been signed by the governor, all disputing parties appear to have benefited. The bill will allow for the horse racing tracks to increase their poker offerings by adding some more tables, which will enable them to run poker tournaments. Besides this, they can also offer high stakes poker and a wide range of further table games at the venues. Meanwhile, casinos belonging to the native tribes can offer horse betting and off track betting (OTB) services.
Randy Sampson, the CEO and President of Canterbury Park commented on the matter.
“Primarily, we will raise the amount of tables hosting live play from 50 to 60, the card room’s present size, to house our consumers throughout peak days. Added development, higher betting limits and expanded poker competitions will be established on market request,”
The latest developments, however, are not aimed at increasing the popularity of poker, but to use the existing popularity of poker, blackjack, and other casino games to increase the horse racing revenue for the state. The increase in revenue will allow Running Aces Harness Park and Canterbury Park to offer larger prizes to the winners of live races, drawing larger crowds to their racing events and further increasing state revenue.
“While this bill will not solve the income difficulties the business faces, it is an vital step in the correct direction for Minnesota horse racing, we are thankful the Legislature and Governor accepted the present, delicate state of horse upbringing and horse racing in Minnesota and delivered new tools we can use to reinforce our business and improve purses.”
Although it looks as if the passing of this law is more in the interests of the state than in the interest of poker players, it definitely proves that poker has the power to generate the required revenue for the state.