Casino Merger Still Possible - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

Talks over the possible merger of a proposed state-tribal casino and a casino at Canterbury Park racetrack will continue -- even without the participation of one of the state's tribal partners, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday.

Leaders of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, up until now one of three northern Minnesota tribes collaborating with Pawlenty's office to push a state-tribal casino in the Twin Cities, said Monday they weren't interested in proceeding if it was combined with a separate proposal to allow a casino at Canterbury Park.

Pawlenty and some gambling supporters have raised the possibility of the merger, hoping it might sweeten the deal for state lawmakers uneasy about proceeding with one proposal and leaving the other behind.

"Leech Lake's decision to pull out of any potential partnership at Canterbury Downs is disappointing," Pawlenty said. "But there are other tribal partners who are interested, and we're continuing to have those discussions."

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