Minnesota Betting Bill Gains Support of Two Stakeholders

Last year, the charities said no deal to a sports betting bill that ended pull tabs, their source of income. This year, an increase in the sports betting tax to raise money for charities placated the group and the tribes as well.

Minnesota Betting Bill Gains Support of Two Stakeholders

The problem Minnesota lawmakers faced when it came to passing a sports betting law was fourfold: sportsbook operators, tribes, racetracks and charities. All had to sign off it seems or no deal.

The legislature has now secured an agreement from the tribes and charities, according to Rep. Zack Stephenson, a primary sponsor. No word about the tracks. But three out of four isn’t bad.

“Well, I think momentum is building, I think we have a great chance. It’s a difficult bill because gambling bills by their nature have to be bipartisan, there are Democrats and Republicans who will never vote for it. So, you have to assemble a broad bipartisan coalition and these days that is very difficult, but momentum is building,” Stephenson told CBS News.

Stephenson’s confidence comes amid a new agreement backed by charities, Minnesota tribes and key legislators, signaling a potential breakthrough in the longstanding effort to legalize sports betting.

Despite being legal in 38 states, including all neighboring states to Minnesota, previous attempts to pass sports betting legislation in the state have faced challenges.

Last year, a sports betting bill languished thanks to lack of support from Allied Charities Minnesota. The bill would eliminate electronic pull tabs, popular in VFW halls, bars, and restaurants. The charities received $40 million a year from the pull-tabs.

What moved the needle this year revolved around a proposal to double the sports betting tax from 10 to 20 percent. The added revenue would go to charities, according to Yogonet Gaming News.

Speaking on “WCCO Sunday Morning” program, Stephenson reiterated the potential advantages of sports betting, which includes allocating some of the tax revenue for compulsive gambling education and treatment.

The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association also voiced support for the compromise, but has other concerns surrounding the bill. No word about the racing component. Stephenson’s bill also includes legalization of sports fantasy games.