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SMSC and Canterbury Park Reach Unprecedented Joint Marketing Agreement

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The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) has agreed to pay the Canterbury Park Holding Corporation (CPHC) $8.5 million over the lifetime of a 10-year marketing partnership to promote the sites' unique amenities, states a Canterbury Park press release.

The joint inititaive is intended to attract customers to the SMSC's Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota—located less than four miles from Canterbury Park Racetrack in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Meanwhile, tribal contributions would enhance the racetrack’s dwindling purses.

If the agreement gets approval from the nine-member Minnesota Racing Commission, the SMSC will fund a program to fatten purses at the horse track by roughly $75 million over the next decade—starting at $2.6 million this year. The payment amount would increase to $8 million from 2018 through 2022.

In exchange, Canterbury Park would team up with SMSC to oppose expanded gambling in the state—including a racino at Canterbury or Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, the state's one other thoroughbred racetrack and Canterbury’s former political ally, reported

“We will take whatever steps are necessary to preserve [this] agreement and partnership,” Canterbury President Randy Sampson told “That would include really any expansion of gambling that would jeopardize the health of our agreement and the status of this situation.”

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The Commission is expected to review the matter in late June. If passed, the joint marketing initiative will be in effect until December 31, 2022.

"There's a natural synergy between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel that we're very enthusiastic about developing," Edward Stevenson, president and chief executive officer of the SMSC Gaming Enterprise, which operates Mystic Lake, said in a statement. "Add that factor to our physical proximity to one another and it becomes evident how we can help one another with marketing, promotions, events and more."

The arrangement follows Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's May 4 authorization of a bill authorizing 30 additional card tables at the state’s two horse racing tracks—Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park—and allowing Indian casinos to offer simulcast betting on horse racing and other off-track betting operations, reported

The new arrangement is expected to end the ongoing, expensive lobbying to allow slot machines at the state's thoroughbred racetracks, as well as slow down discussions of expanded gambling at the Capitol. “I guess my sense is that discussion of a larger-scale gaming effort in Minnesota, at least at this point without racino, is probably over for a while,” Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, told

"The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux are very happy to be entering into this ten-year alliance," Stanley R. Crooks, chairman of the SMSC Business Council, said in the press release. "We believe it's a good agreement with advantages to both parties. It protects the horse industry in Minnesota and lets us all focus on the broader interests that we share. It continues our tradition of community involvement with our neighbors. We look forward to what these two excellent enterprises will accomplish over the next decade."