The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe can now offer simulcast wagering on domestic and international horse races from its Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Events Center in Walker, Minnesota, thanks to a new management agreement with Canterbury Park Holding Corporation.
The Minnesota Horsemen's Benevolent And Protective Association, the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association and the Leech Lake Band also signed a purse fund contribution agreement that will use simulcast wagering revenue from Northern Lights to increase live racing purses at Canterbury Park.
"There is significant interest in live horse racing in Northern Minnesota, so we see a great opportunity to meet customer demand and continue to support our mission of community development," said Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Chairwoman Carri Jones in a press release. "We are thrilled to create these agreements with Canterbury Park and the organizations that represent world-class thoroughbred and quarter horse racing."
These agreements are the first of their kind in Minnesota. Legislation passed in 2012 established the framework that enables Leech Lake Band and other sovereign nations currently authorized to conduct gaming under a tribal-state compact to receive telecasts of horse races for simulcast wagering purposes from Canterbury Park and other tracks around the world.
"This agreement will bring the excitement of live horse racing to Northern Minnesota, which has a long history of supporting breeding, farming and other industries that make the Minnesota horse industry thrive," Canterbury Park Holding Corp. President Randy Sampson said in a statement. "Providing simulcast management services to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will increase exposure to racing and increase Minnesota¹s live racing purses."
Under the five-year agreement, the maximum length allowed by the 2012 legislation, Leech Lake Band will be solely responsible for simulcast operations within their casino. Canterbury will provide management and consulting services to the Leech Lake Band that are necessary for simulcast wagering on thoroughbred and quarter horse races, including obtaining telecasts, wagering equipment, marketing and accounting.
This agreement between the Leech Lake Band and Canterbury Park Holding Corperation is only the first step required for simulcast wagering to be offered at Northern Lights Casino. The management agreement requires the approval of the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Minnesota Racing Commission, with regulatory discussions expected to begin soon.
Located in North-Central Minnesota, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a federally recognized tribe with over 9,000 Tribal members. Leech Lake Gaming Division operates Northern Lights, as well as Palace Casino and White Oak Casino. Leech Lake Gaming employs approximately 1,000 area residents.