During the debate over a new Viking’s Stadium in the 2012 session, in which a bill finally passed, we had broadly discussed the idea of using Sports Book gambling as a funding source, prior to the US Supreme Court’s decision Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2017) five years after we suggested this very approach to Sen Julie Rosen (R-23, Fairmont). If she had followed our advice then Minnesota would have an even greater revenue surplus.
Now, with the change in ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez gaining a 20% stake in the team, with an expected majority purchase later, we think they will seek a new arena. If they do, getting Sportsbook underway, will be a perfect vehicle for financing future sports facilities both in construction and maintenance. Right now, an example being the Vikings Stadium panel replacements last summer.
If stadiums are community assets and the identity of said communities stem from professional franchises, then creation of a state-based perpetual funding mechanism like Sportsbook is duly justified. The proceeds do not need tot be solely directed at professional sports, this could finance the Sport Center in Blaine, maybe even reconstituting the Velodrome for world class cycling, but also every capital investment request for athletic fields and gymnasiums across the state.
This will remove this as a pressure point on future capital investment requests and provide a stable financial resource for athletic venues.