Sat, 6:00 PM Update: Unfortunately the court challenge was denied today which means Canterbury and Running Aces will remain closed for now. They will be taking additional action this week in an effort to get re-opened as soon as possible.
Fri, 2:15 PM Update: No news yet regarding this morning’s court hearing. They are still waiting on a Judge’s ruling. Racing has been cancelled this evening.
10:30 PM Update: I’m reporting live here from Canterbury Park where the place is beyond packed! I’ve been coming here semi-regularly for many years – its the closest card room to my home – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it like this…and its Thursday. The thousands here don’t seem to be phased by the fact that 1.5 hours from now, 12:01 AM Friday, Canterbury Park and Running Aces will be forced to close their doors due to the State’s budget impasse. This just two months after poker players were forced to give up their rights to play online on what was dubbed “Black Friday”.
If you think this sounds absurd, you are correct. You may ask…but Canterbury and Running Aces are privately owned, how could a state shutdown affect them? Great question. Canterbury and Aces are governed by the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC). The basic task of the MRC is to make sure the two businesses are following the laws.
The state is classifying the MRC during this shutdown as unnecessary forcing them to close despite the fact that the MRC is 100% funded by the two racetrack/card rooms. Without the MRC to govern the two businesses, they are being forced to shut down as well.
There are a total of 10 MRC employees between Canterbury and Running Aces. There are 3,500 other people employed by Canterbury and Running Aces that now lose their jobs because the state has decided to shut down the MRC. Make sense? Exactly. Not to mention these two businesses pay taxes. So all the lost revenue by these two facilities will affect the bottom line to the state which is, oddly enough (sarcasm), having budget issues. And this couldn’t have happened at a worse time, the 4th of July weekend is always the biggest live racing and revenue weekend of the year that will be impossible for these businesses to make up.
Both facilities have asked for an injunction allowing them to continue operations. The case was quickly passed to the MN Supreme Court. The word here at Canterbury is that there is a special meeting at 9:00 AM Friday to try to get this rectified.