Vikings Want To Use Charitable Gambling Revenue For Stadium Debt
The Vikings want to use a "windfall of charitable gambling revenue" to speed up "repayment of the public debt" on the $1.1B U.S. Bank Stadium, for which the team covered half the cost, according to a front-page piece by Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. However, charities across the state that run the electronic pulltab operations generating all the money said that they are "entitled to a larger share" of the revenue. Recent estimates indicate that there will be almost $250M in the account to "pay off the debt" by '23. That number "could grow with the forecast at the end of the month, creating a tempting pot of cash that lawmakers may choose to tap for other purposes." State Sen. Julie Rosen "plans to sponsor a measure to put the reserve money in a 'stadium payoff fund' and use it to pay off the public debt faster." Allied Charities of Minnesota Exec Dir Allen Lund, whose members run pulltab operations throughout the state and receive a share of the revenue, "wants to see those charities get a larger share." Olson notes the stadium bonds "could be refinanced" before '23, freeing up some cash and lowering debt payments. But that "wouldn't provide as much savings as a refinance in three years." Rosen said that she has "already spoken with the Vikings and intends to discuss the plan" next week with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/14).