Gaming the system

The ever growing likelyhood of losing Casino money is really big and unpleasant news for Duluth taxpayers. According to this story Duluth was only collecting about 14% of the profits from the Fon du Luth Casino but it still amounted to about $5 or $6 million a year. (I didn’t know our take was that small a percentage of the casino we helped birth)

A lot of the new streets we drive on were paid for by gambling money. The tribe withheld payments for the last three years so we’ve hobbled along without it and the good times may come to an end. (This was one of the things my recent caller predicte) If the judge’s ruling sticks we’ll get one last payment of around $14 million but it will be sayonara for the next thirty years worth of gaming money we thought we had coming.

Unless a lot of new Federal money comes out way after the 2112 election we face some hard times. Taxpayers are facing huge jumps in their property taxes that, I suspect, will kill the GOP majority in the Minnesota legislature next year. Duluth was very lucky to get its “parks” referendum passed in the last election. I don’t see taxpayers authorizing any more regressive property tax increases anytime soon.

The news will be just as dire for the School Board. They will simply have to stew in their own juices.

I’m not sure the news will be all that great for the Indian run casinos in the long run. Gaming has given many Minnesota reservations a leg up over the past thirty years. A tax weary public will look hungrily at that revenue just as the founding Father’s did when they authorized numerous state lotteries two hundred years ago. I think the Reservation casinos will be given a run for their money soon by non Indian casinos which will contribute an even larger share of their revenues to the state. Fon du Luth’s changing revenue stream has probably just lost the Indian Nations a few more allies in the legislature.

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