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A Minnesota sports betting bill exclusive to the state’s tribal casinos – HF 778 – was passed by the state House last night by a vote of 70-57, this issue still not settled since this legislation all but leaves out any state race tracks hoping to take part in that potentially lucrative market.
The proposal in question is sponsored by Rep. Zak Stephenson and is supported by the MIGA and it would make it legal for Minnesota residents to place sports bets either in person at the state’s tribal casinos or online using mobile apps also controlled by those same casinos.
Currently, over thirty other states in the U.S. have launched their own legal sports betting market, including Minnesota neighbour Iowa and nearby Illinois, so Land of 10,000 Lakes bettors have already been making sports wagers they just have been going elsewhere to do it.
So, right now all the money from that action is leaving the state, but a legal Gopher State sports betting market would change that by regulating those bets and subjecting the revenue to a state tax which would send a fair percentage of those gambling dollars back home.
But that House approved bill still has an uphill Senate battle to win.
The big deal breaker with HF 778 is that it leaves out Minnesota’s racetracks and for some Senators any proposal that does that is not even worth debating, so that legislation might already be dead in the Senate waters without ever getting a chance to get a chamber vote.
The GOP Sen. Majority Leader is Jeremy Miller and has repeated that racetrack argument in no uncertain terms, saying there needs to be more debate and compromises made:
If the stakeholders can come together and try to find some common ground where there are opportunities available at the tribal casinos as well as the tracks, and perhaps if there’s something we can do to help benefit our charities, I think agreement could still get done this session. But we’re running out of time for that to happen.
Minnesota’s legislative session ends on May 23, so time is running out for this issue to be settled, especially if there is no leeway on including state racetracks in the deal, and that means more potential money lost as resident sports gamblers continue to go elsewhere to bet.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stephenson, sports betting is “an idea whose time has come,” and were it to be fully launched in Minnesota, it could “defeat the black market” and even provide a “significant budget surplus,” desirable goals during financially challenging times.
Some of the potential tax revenue that a legal MN sports betting market is expected to generate has been earmarked for gambling addiction programs and youth sports via a fund run by the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, worthy causes that could no doubt use the money.
With just about a week left in session, Minnesota’s Senate has the next move in this unfolding scenario that resident gamblers are hoping will end well, so keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this exciting midwestern story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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