The Minnesota Legislature has passed the state’s sports betting bill by 70 votes to 57.
US.- On Thursday evening, the Minnesota House voted 70-57 to pass a bill that would legalise sports wagering at state casinos and online. However, there are differences between its bill and that proposed by the state senate.
Both bills would legalise in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and online gaming through vendors that the tribes oversee, but the Senate proposal would also allow in-person betting at racetracks. The House and Senate will need to come to an agreement before the session ends May 23 in order for sports betting legislation to move forward this year.
The House approved bill amendments that raised the number of hours of counselling the state will provide to impulsive gamblers and their families from 12 to 60 hours, limit advertisements for mobile sports betting and put safeguards in place including prohibiting most smartphone push notifications for sports betting apps.
The House bill would direct taxes from mobile sports betting profits to regulation, addressing problem gambling, funding youth sports and other programming. The Senate proposal would direct tax revenue into the state’s general fund, and a percentage of either licensing fees or tax revenue would go toward Gamblers Anonymous.
“The pressure has really been building for us to do something here in Minnesota,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson, who introduced the bill. “No one from Minnesota should have to go to Iowa to have fun. That’s kind of the motto here. We should have the ability to do this safely, legally and with guard rails here in Minnesota.”
“What this bill is about is creating a legal marketplace that will displace that black market, and in doing so provide consumer protection, ensure the integrity of the game and limit money laundering and other illicit activity,” Stephenson said. He estimates that about $2bn is wagered illegally in the state each year.
However, Senate majority leader Jeremy Miller told the press at the Capitol that sports betting “is still a work in progress.” He said there’s no Senate support for the House version of the bill.
“If the stakeholders can come together and try to find some common ground where there are opportunities available at the tribal casinos as well as the tracks, and perhaps if there’s something we can do to help benefit our charities, I think agreement could still get done this session,” Miller said. “But we’re running out of time for that to happen.”