Is gambling an appropriate revenue source for publicly funding a Vikings stadium?
Shouldn’t we first be asking if publicly funding a Vikings stadium is appropriate at all?
Fine, let’s talk gambling first:
Don David, writing for the Bemidji Pioneer, takes a look at political support for gambling as a revenue source that could be created then earmarked for Zygi Wilf’s business.
Funding is the key question.
In recent weeks, liberals and conservatives have joined hands to oppose a stadium with any public support, and they specifically fight any gambling proceeds from being used.
“The governor’s suggestion that we fund a new Vikings’ stadium with predatory gambling dollars is fantasy football, Bernie Madoff style,” President Tom Prichard of the conservative Minnesota Family Council said. “It will only drive more Minnesota families deeper into debt, and create thousands of new gambling addicts.”
Most Liberal Democratic-Farmer-Laborites also oppose expanding gambling to fund a stadium because it could hurt American Indian tribe casinos. They, and some Republicans, say any new money the state receives should go to education and health care, not an entertainment facility like a stadium.
I question the first sentence of the last paragraph of the above block quote. While many DFL candidates do receive campaign contributions from American Indian tribes, many DFL candidates would oppose gambling expansion for the benefit of a private entertainment business with or without campaign cash. It’s like pro-life groups giving money to Amy Koch. They can count on her vote either way.
The last sentence seems much closer to bi-partisan reality to me.
The StarTribune’s Vikings wilfare poll results show that 54% of men and 73% of women in the state oppose public financing for a new stadium:
Men are far more accepting of public funding for a stadium than women, the poll showed — 46 percent of men in favor, versus only 27 percent of women.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sure looks like that poll data shows that 63.5% of Minnesotans oppose public financing for a stadium. That should have been the headline to the StarTribune’s poll results.
Emotional but not Financial Support
It’s been interesting watching overly entitled Vikings Wilfare supporters claim that I’m not a Vikings fan if I don’t support extracting money from the public to subsidize an NFL franchise. The StarTribune’s polls help illustrate that I’m far from alone in my position as a Vikings fan who opposes Vikings Wilfare. As their polling shows, 67% of Minnesotans don’t want to see the team leave, yet 63% don’t want public financing used to pay for a new stadium.
This tells me that the most loyal Vikings fans need to demonstrate their loyalty by writing checks for personal seat licenses. It’s time for the legislature to start asking the Vikings and Vikings fans to work together to come up with a larger percentage of the stadium costs. Separate sport and state. Build it privately.