Efforts to legalize MN sports betting on the ropes at Legislature

·2 min read

Efforts to legalize sports betting appear to have folded at the Minnesota Legislature for lack of time.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman said passage of legislation legalizing sports gambling was unlikely to make it to the floor for a vote this session.

“I think we are probably out of time,” Hortman said during a Thursday afternoon news conference. “In the House it has two or three more committees. We are not going to be able to take people away from the floor to have that move through the committees that it would need to.”

Getting a legal sports betting bill through both chambers would almost certainly take bipartisan support, at least in the Senate, and Republicans and Democrats don’t appear to have a finalized agreement.

The Minnesota Legislature must adjourn by midnight May 22 and lawmakers have several massive bills they need to approve before then to finalize a nearly $72 billion two-tear budget.

Supporters of legalized sports betting have pushed for it unsuccessfully for several years. The key dispute is whether the state’s 11 Native American tribes should have sole oversight of sports gambling or if horse tracks and sports teams also should get a piece of the action.

Democrats largely favor the tribes running any new sports betting operations; although they likely would have to partner with a national betting application for mobile gaming.

Republicans have pushed to include sports teams and horse racing tracks. They’ve noted that horse track operators fear big profit losses if they are left out of a sports gambling operation.

To try to appease both sides, Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, proposed putting millions of sports gambling revenue from a 10 percent tax on bets into an economic development account to favor the tracks.

Other tax revenue would be use to address problem gambling and to promote youth sports, especially in high-risk communities.

But that proposal came late in the session and hasn’t progressed through all the committees it needs to in both the House and Senate for full consideration.

The Minnesota push for legalized sports betting began after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state prohibitions on sports wagering in 2018. About half the states now allow some type of sports betting, including all of Minnesota’s neighbors.

Related Articles