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Sports betting bill passes 1st test at Minnesota Legislature

A bill to legalize sports betting in Minnesota cleared its first test at the Legislature on Thursday but faces an uncertain future amid tribal opposition.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 1:48 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2019 3:34 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A bill to legalize sports betting in Minnesota cleared its first test at the Legislature on Thursday but faces an uncertain future amid tribal opposition.

Senate Tax Committee Chairman Roger Chamberlain's bill passed his own panel on a 5-2 vote Thursday. It goes to the Senate state government committee, but the Lino Lakes Republican acknowledged in an interview it may not pass this session.

The bill would allow sports betting only at the state's two horse-racing tracks, Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces in Columbus; its 21 tribal casinos; or via mobile device apps linked directly to the tracks or participating casinos. The state would collect a 6.75 percent tax on total bets placed minus winnings.

"People do make a very good living off of this, and they also have a lot of fun," Chamberlain testified. "We're just trying to create a legal structure on that to ... legalize it, regulate it, make it safe and accessible to people."

Minnesota's 11 federally recognized tribes have opposed expansion of off-reservation gambling for over two decades, and oppose the new effort. John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, said gambling is the only successful economic development tool the tribes have ever had.

He said authorizing online gaming via mobile devices "would be the largest expansion of gambling in Minnesota in more than a quarter century" and would likely lead to legalization of further internet gaming.

It's not clear how much tax revenue the state could collect from legalized sports betting. Chamberlain estimated Minnesotans could wager $2 billion to $3 million annually. A Minnesota Department of Revenue analysis on the bill said the impact is "unknown."

Jake Grassel, executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, warned that any gains would be outweighed by social costs such as problem gambling, crime, bankruptcies, divorces and social services for affected families.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal sports gambling ban last spring. It's now legal in eight states, including Nevada, which had a monopoly before, and it's being considered in some others including neighboring South Dakota. But a 50-state review by The Associated Press published this month found that legalization efforts are nonexistent or very unlikely to happen anytime soon in the nation's three most populous states — California, Florida and Texas — which together hold more than a quarter of the U.S. population. As in Minnesota, tribal opposition is a factor in several states.

No hearing has been scheduled on a sports betting bill in the Minnesota House that would allow wagering only at tribal casinos. The tribes oppose that bill, too. Its author, Farmington Republican Pat Garofalo, tweeted that Thursday's vote was "good news for advocates, but it is clear that the public is going to have to engage more if supporters want to see sports gambling become law in Minnesota."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
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Wayne10
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