Harness track lobbies for racino

The lesser known of Minnesota’s two horse-racing tracks is putting on a push to be allowed to install slot machines.

A petition with more than 1,500 signatures from residents near the Columbus harness track just north of the Twin Cities encourages state lawmakers to support the “racino” as a way to help fix the state budget problem. Racino is more closely associated with Canterbury Park, a southern Twin Cities track.

“It’s time for our legislators to join their constituents and support Running Aces, its 550 employees and the hundreds of local residents who support the track,” said John Derus, Running Aces Harness Park spokesman.

Racino backers claim that racino could provide the state $100 million a year.

In recent days, racino has been discussed as a method to fund a new Vikings football stadium, but it faces strong legislative opposition.

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