Charities, tribes, legislators extend support

Minnesota sports betting bill gains momentum as legislature shows support

Reading time 1:13 min

The sponsor of Minnesota's sports betting bill, Rep. Zack Stephenson, is expressing optimism as momentum builds for legalization within the state legislature.

Stephenson's confidence comes amid a new agreement backed by charities, Minnesota tribes, and key legislators, signaling a potential breakthrough in the longstanding effort to legalize sports betting.

"Well, I think momentum is building, I think we have a great chance. It's a difficult bill because gambling bills by their nature have to be bipartisan, there are Democrats and Republicans who will never vote for it. So you have to assemble a broad bipartisan coalition and these days that is very difficult, but momentum is building," Stephenson said, as per a report by CBS News.

Despite being legal in over 30 states, including all neighboring states to Minnesota, previous attempts to pass sports betting legislation in the state have faced challenges. Last year, a major obstacle arose due to a proposal that would have legalized sports betting while eliminating popular electronic pull-tab games found in bars and VFWs.

This led to the ire of small bars, restaurants, VFWs and the group Allied Charities Minnesota, which represents small charities. Those charities have been getting $40 million a year from these pull-tab games.

However, a recent deal was announced to increase taxes on sports betting proceeds from 10% to 20%, with the additional revenue allocated to small charities. Allied Charities Minnesota has now voiced support for this agreement.

Speaking as a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, Stephenson, a key proponent of the bill, highlighted the progress made, emphasizing the potential benefits of legalizing sports betting, including revenue allocation for compulsive gambling education and treatment.

The Indian Gaming Association and leading GOP voices, such as Sen. Jeremy Miller, have also signaled support for the compromise.

Stephenson's bill additionally seeks to legalize betting on sports fantasy games.

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