This story comes to you from the Star Tribune, partner of Sahan Journal.
Top Democrats released their plan on Tuesday to license sports gambling exclusively to the state’s American Indian tribes, allowing betting at their casinos and on their mobile devices, but not at state racetracks, an exclusion criticized by Republicans.
Representative Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, said the legislature is “back to finishing the job” that began last year when the House passed his bill but the Senate has not.
“Minnesotans are really demanding sports betting, and in many cases they’re actually accessing it on the black market,” said Matt Kline, sponsor in the Senate, DFL-Mendota Heights. And like Sunday [liquor] sales a number of years ago, they often don’t understand why the government is obstructing their desires and creating inconveniences in their lives.”
The bill continues to run into trouble in the Senate, where the DFL controls the chamber by a single vote. At least one Democrat, Sen. John Marty of Roseville, said he does not want to expand gambling and Republican votes may hinge on the inclusion of the two tracks.
Without Canterbury Park in Shakopee involved, he couldn’t vote for it, said Rep. Pat Garafolo, R. Farmington, and the godfather of sports betting.
“If I didn’t vote for him — it’s hard to imagine any other member of the Republican Party would,” he said in a statement echoed by Sen. Jeremy Miller, R. Winona, sponsor of a separate bill for the legislation.
Garafolo also objects to the law’s provision allowing personal sports betting at the age of 18, calling it a very bad idea. Age 21 is the minimum age for mobile betting.
The DFL bill would allow each of the 11 tribes with a single sports betting license to partner with a mobile gambling platform, such as FanDuel, DraftKings or Caesars.
The state’s professional sports teams and the Minnesota Indian Games Association announced their support for the proposal in letters.
Klein said the bill creates a reliable and safe sports gambling market with “sufficient protections around problem gambling.” He admitted that he does not yet have the votes to pass, but “I consider it my responsibility to cross the finish line.”
Since the US Supreme Court cleared the way for the legalization of sports betting with a 2018 ruling, more than 30 states have legalized it in some way, including all of Minnesota’s neighbors and Canada.
German Football League governor Tim Walz thanked the sponsors and said in a statement, “Whether it’s cannabis or sports betting, I firmly believe that adults should be able to make their own decisions.”
In its letter, Minnesota sports teams endorsed tribal exclusivity and indicated that they would oppose allowing non-tribal entities to obtain sports betting licenses. The letter was signed by the captains of the Minnesota Lynx, Timberwolves, Twins, United, Vikings, Wild.
Twins president Dave St. Peter The pro teams have deep and longstanding relationships with the tribes and recognize their exclusive rights to operate gambling operations in Minnesota. He said the pro teams would benefit from partnerships with tribes, advertising, and fan involvement.
“They will want to promote their sports betting platforms where the fans are,” said St Peter’s.
Teams also love that the Bill creates a “hard market” with licenses available for every tribe. Another provision of the bill, St Peter’s said, bans betting on injuries or penalties to ensure games are played with the “highest level of integrity”.
Teams “don’t hit the table” for sports betting, Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said, but if it’s to be legal, it must respect tribal exclusivity and contain consumer protections.
What sports betting won’t do, according to DFLers, is provide significant tax revenue. Using financial analysis on last year’s bill, Stephenson estimated it would bring in up to $12 million annually to the state with a proposed 10% tax on net revenue.
The first part of this revenue will go towards covering the cost of managing and regulating gambling. Of the remaining percentage, 40 percent will go to addressing problem gambling and 40 percent to youth sports programs.
One of the state’s two racetracks, Running Aces in Metro-North, responded that the track’s future depends on being present in expanded gambling options. “A sports betting bill that excludes the running ace jeopardizes the future of the Minnesota horse racing industry,” CEO Taro Ito said in a statement.
The gambling market in Minnesota is strong enough to help tribes and use improved wallets on the trails, Randy Sampson, CEO of Canterbury Park in Shakopee, said in a statement. “This combination will provide the largest possible amount of economic benefits for the state,” he said.
Stevenson said the bill needs to be examined and approved by multiple committees in both houses before it can be put to a vote in the chamber. No vote is expected in either chamber before April.
🟥 Read more