Odds Improving for Revised Minnesota Sports Gambling Proposal

May 4, 2023 | Sports Betting

Senator Matt Klein says there’s still time for a deal, but tracks say they want more action than currently in the bill

Minnesota (May 3, 2023) — According to a local media report the odds improved ever-so-slightly Wednesday on Minnesota’s prospects for joining neighboring states in legalizing sports gambling.

The ‘Star Tribune‘ reported Senator Matt Klein offered an amendment to his legalization bill that would aid the state’s two horse-racing tracks, which were left out of the initial bill.

Under his plan, sports gambling would be taxed at 10% with 30% of that going to an economic development fund for the tracks capped at $20 million. After that initial infusion, the two tracks would split $3 million annually.

Klein was resolutely upbeat despite the Legislature’s impending adjournment on May 22.

As he has before, the senator said Minnesotans want sports gambling and the Legislature’s job is to provide guardrails to make it safer. Klein’s amendment would allow only the state’s 11 tribes to obtain sports betting licenses. The tribes already have exclusive rights to casino gambling.

Klein and Rep. Zack Stephenson introduced a bill in late February. Back then, the two lawmakers were optimistic, but Republicans didn’t like the bill without money for tracks and the proposal languished. They’re still not warm to it.

There’s not going to be an agreement on this unless the tracks, the teams and the tribes are at the table and negotiate a compromise,” Rep. Pat Garofalo was reported as saying.

At the committee hearing, representatives from the two race tracks spoke against the bill, as did Jake Grassel, executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion. Minnesota Indian Gaming Association executive director Andy Platto said the nine tribes in the association would continue to support the amended bill.

Track representatives testified that they provide jobs and already offer sports gambling on horses so they deserve a fair piece of the expansion.

The Senate committee ran out of time to debate and take a vote on the bill with chairwoman Erin Murphy saying she planned to take action on it next week. The bill has multiple stops before it would go to the Senate floor for a vote.

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SOURCE:  Star Tribune.

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