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Minnesota House to Vote on Sports Betting

Minnesota House to Vote on Sports Betting article feature image
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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and D’Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnessota’s sports betting bill is headed to the House floor after clearing its fifth committee Thursday.

The House Ways & Means Committee voted 14-7 to advance Minnesota-HF 778, which would legalize online and retail sports betting under the state’s native tribes. The full House could take up the bill as soon as this afternoon.

It’s the farthest a sports betting bill has made it through the North Star state.

The committee voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Miller (R) that would have eradicated a 10% tax on gross gaming revenue. Miller, afterwards, promised to bring up the amendment again on the floor.

Amendment to Reappear on House Floor

Bill-sponsor Rep. Zack Stephenson (D) said he appreciated Miller’s intent, but without any tax, the state would effectively be subsidizing the industry. 

A 10% tax is very low compared to taxes in other legal states. Some of the revenue would fund the cost to regulate and implement sports betting. The rest would go towards youth sports and problem gambling services.

The bill has a good chance of passing in the House, though it could face a tough path in the Senate, where a similar bill is pending.

Control Issue Poised to Come Up

The Senate’s bill would allow betting licenses for racetracks, versus Stephenson’s bill, which would give tribes a monopoly on sports betting.

His bill wold create two master mobile licenses split between northern and southern tribes, which would allow them to contract with commercial operators.

Previous attempts to legalize sports betting without giving tribes 100% control have all fallen short. The tribes are unlikely to support anything else.

Both chambers must pass the same bill by May 23, the last day of the legislative session.

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