Introduced by Senator John Marty

Minnesota: Proposed sports betting bill bars bets on college games, push notifications, prop bets

Reading time 1:47 min

Senator John Marty, alongside two colleagues, introduced legislation on Thursday outlining safeguards he sees as necessary in the event of legalizing sports betting in Minnesota.

Despite both the House and Senate advancing bills to legalize sports betting on mobile devices, neither chamber has yet conducted a floor vote, leaving the prospects of regulation uncertain. Marty, cautious about expanding gambling access, emphasized the importance of providing protections for problem gamblers if the state moves forward with legalization, Star Tribune reported.

"I think, five years from now, we're going to have a lot of second thoughts," Marty, DFL-Roseville, was quoted as saying in the report, referring to expanding gambling to mobile sports betting.

Co-sponsoring Marty's bill are DFL Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and Erin Maye Quade of Apple Valley. Meanwhile, Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, is sponsoring the primary sports betting bill under consideration. Although he didn't delve into the specifics of Marty's new bill, Klein expressed satisfaction with Marty exploring alternative options.

"I'm encouraged that he has proactive ideas about how to legalize sports wagering safely in our state and isn't simply a hard no on the concept," Klein said, as per the report.

While Marty's proposals may appear ambitious, they represent potential bargaining points in negotiations. With Democrats holding a narrow Senate majority, bipartisan support is likely necessary for any legislation to pass.

Marty's bill includes bans on betting on college sports and in-game actions, commonly known as prop bets. Additionally, it prohibits gambling platforms from sending push notifications to users when their phones are idle. Notably, the bill proposes a minimum tax rate of 40%, with a quarter of the tax revenue allocated to schools for mental health and addiction prevention programs.

Marty aims to curb problem gambling associated with "predatory corporate sports books" that target consumers via mobile devices around the clock, he said. "This drives many recreational gamblers into problem gambling, where they spend money they don't have or cannot afford to lose," he said.

Citing examples from other states, Marty highlights a significant increase in calls to problem gambling hotlines following the legalization of sports betting.

"The unfortunate reality is that gambling addiction has a higher risk of suicide than any other addiction. Half of the people in treatment have considered suicide. One in six have attempted suicide. That's a huge public health problem,” he said in his news release.

Despite the proposed restrictions, Marty acknowledges that Minnesota's mobile sports betting would likely be more accessible than neighboring states, as three out of four states require gamblers to place bets in physical casinos rather than through mobile devices.

However, Marty's bill lacks provisions for funding the two horse racing tracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces, which are deemed essential to garnering GOP support.

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