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Minnesotans Want Gambling Expansion, Lawmakers Split

The online gambling industry was shaken up several weeks ago when the US Department of Justice unleashed an assault on three of the most popular online poker sites in the world. The result was millions of Americans with no place to enjoy one of their favorite hobbies.

Now, Minnesota residents may find out what it feels like to be heavily in favor of gambling expansion, while being ignored by the lawmakers they voted into office. A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll suggests that almost three quarters of those questioned are in favor of adding new casinos in the state.

Currently in Minnesota, only tribal casinos exist. The tribe's, as is the case in most states, do not have to follow the same tough restrictions that would be outlined in new laws should legislators pass a gambling expansion bill this session. Despite the overwhelming evidence that Minnesota residents want more casinos, lawmakers are split on the issue.

One reason that those in favor of new casino revenue are supporting expansion has to do with the state's NFL team. The Vikings have threatened to relocate if the state does not help them build a new stadium. Lawmakers have heeded that warning and have come up with a plan that would use casino revenue to help fund a new stadium.

In states around the US, slot machines at race tracks have become the norm. This is the form of gambling expansion most supported by those who were in favor of new casinos. The poll also showed that less than ten percent of those in favor of new gaming options wanted slots in bars and a mega casino built.

There were Minnesotans in the poll that understood that state approved casinos would come with strict regulations. Twenty-three percent were opposed to new casinos, instead opting to keep the tribal casinos as the only ones in the state.

Others were not as concerned with additional regulation as the rights of the tribe's. Several respondents claimed that the tribe's should be allowed to own a monopoly on casino gambling after all the land they have lost over the years.

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