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Minnesota Sports Betting Discussions Getting Hot … and Not in a Good Way

It was just a month ago that Minnesota seemed to be on the verge of some genuine hope for sports betting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And while we can’t say for sure that said hope is lost, let’s just say we have lost contact with the proverbial Edmund Fitzgerald out on Lake Superior. Specifically, recent, tense discussions in the Minnesota legislature have led some to believe that there is no chance of the sports betting bill passing this year.

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The Minnesota sports betting bill would legalize sports betting in the state if it were to pass and would tax it at 20%. There are 11 tribes in Minnesota, and each would have a license to partner with a sports betting app. Additionally, daily fantasy sports would also become legal.

This bill passed through the House Taxes Committee this week and is now set to face the House Ways and Means Committee. That sounds like a good sign, right? Well, yes and no — there is still a lot of disagreement on the logistics of the bill and Minnesota sports betting in general, and discussions have been heated.

The gulf between those opposing and those in support of the bill is largely due to taxes. Charities in Minnesota are set to face $40 million in tax cuts after the state takes in sports betting revenue, but there are some who believe $40 million is too small an amount to cut from taxes on these charities. There is also still the opposition to sports betting invading territory currently occupied by pull tabs, which is a massive gambling revenue generator in Minnesota.

I have covered this before: Minnesotans are about as enthusiastic about pull tabs as they are about the Vikings, so I personally do not see one hurting the other. That said, pull tabs help fund a number of charities, and sports betting could step on that a bit if legalized.

Another point of contention is the lack of support for horse racing tracks in the bill, and some are lobbying for their inclusion.

The first committee moving it forward is quite literally progress, but the bill may be DOA if it reaches the Senate. Said one representative, “This bill will not pass.” Gandalf over here …

As such, the most likely result is the bill not passing by the end of Minnesota’s legislative session (adjourns May 20), and Minnesotans will have to wait until 2025 for their chance at sports betting.

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