The idea of a "racino" - allowing race tracks in Minnesota to set up slot machines - has been a battleground in Minnesota for many years. Racetrack owners and thoroughbred horse breeders wanted the extra money for bigger purses and some legislators wanted the state to get a cut of the revenue. Opponents included the Indian tribes that own Minnesota's only casinos, and legislators who wanted to keep gambling from spreading.
This week Canterbury Park and the Mdewakanton Sioux community in Shakopee, owners of Mystic Lake Casino, came up with an agreement. The casino will contribute some $80 million over 10 years for bigger purses and joint marketing efforts, and Canterbury will refuse to pursue the racino effort.
This is a win-win situation. The racetrack and the casino will benefit from working together on promotions, instead of battling head-to-head for the slot-machine dollars.
State legislators could certainly take a lesson from this fine example of compromise and cooperation.