Minnesota Senate Committee endorsed legalized sports gambling in the State

Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota also includes funding for horse tracks

In this Online Casino Suite news story I’m diving into Minnesota’s recent move towards online gambling legalization for sports betting and potentially other forms of iGaming in the state.

Discussions are ongoing with the race tracks, who are asserting their desire for more than the suggested $3 million annual allocation.

On Wednesday, a Minnesota Senate committee advanced a proposal to legalize sports gambling, and the bill’s sponsor, Senator Matt Klein, expressed optimism about securing the support of the state’s two horse tracks.

After a mostly partisan vote in the state and local government committee, Klein stated that they need to find a way to persuade the tracks to not openly oppose the plan. However, with less than two weeks left until the Legislature’s deadline to adjourn, time is running out.

Although Klein introduced the amendment last week, the committee only voted on it now. The bill will proceed to the Rules Committee and then the Taxes Committee, but the question of whether Klein can secure more funds for the two tracks and garner additional Republican votes remains unanswered.

Senator Matt Klein, a Democrat from Mendota Heights, has revised his proposal to legalize sports betting in Minnesota, with the hope of winning bipartisan support in the Senate. Klein’s plan calls for a 10% tax on sports gambling, with 30% of the revenue going to an economic development fund for the state’s two horse tracks, up to a cap of $20 million.

After that, the tracks would receive $3 million annually. Klein’s proposal would also allow each of the state’s 11 American Indian tribes to obtain one license to partner with a betting on sports platform such as FanDuel, DraftKings, or BetMGM, with the state expected to receive $30 million in revenue each year.

While the DFL holds a slim 34-33 majority in the Senate, Klein will need bipartisan support to pass the bill, as some Democrats are opposed to expanding gambling.

horse race betting

According to Senator Klein, a portion of the state’s revenue would be allocated to the Department of Human Services to address problem gambling, while another portion would be directed towards youth sports and addressing juvenile crime.

Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, Andy Platto, noted that since location is not a factor in where people play, smaller tribes outside the Twin Cities metro area may benefit more from sports gambling than they do from physical casinos.

“Mobile sports betting levels the playing field among tribes which we see as a positive development,” Platto said.

A proposal to legalize sports betting in Minnesota made progress on Wednesday, receiving the support of the state Senate committee in an 8-5 vote. However, negotiations with the state’s two horse tracks are still ongoing, with some lawmakers hoping for a larger allocation of funds than the proposed $3 million annually.

The bill, introduced by Senator Matt Klein, would tax sports betting at 10%, with 30% of the revenue going towards an economic development fund for the tracks, capped at $20 million. After the initial payment, the tracks would receive $3 million annually.

The proposal also allows each of the state’s 11 American Indian tribes to obtain one license to partner with sports betting platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel, with the state projected to receive $30 million in revenue each year.

Senator Klein also mentioned that a portion of the state funds would go towards addressing problem gambling, youth sports, and juvenile crime. While some Democrats oppose gambling expansion, Senator Klein is optimistic about the bill’s prospects and is currently negotiating with the tracks.

The bill now moves to the Rules Committee and then the Taxes Committee before it can advance to the Senate floor. The bill has not yet been considered by the House.

Last week, Running Aces in Columbus, Minn., and Canterbury Park in the southern metropolitan area spoke out against the bill, stating that they require more funding.

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz stated that he would back a final agreement if both chambers agree on the bill, but he is not involved in the negotiations. “We’ve said if they can get a bill to my desk, I’ll certainly sign it,” Walz said.

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