Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS — The start of the Minnesota legislative session is just three weeks away and the legislature appears ready to tackle one of the major issues they didn’t complete last session: sports betting.

The bill may have bipartisan support, but it’s been difficult to pass.

Sports betting is now legal in more than 30 states, including all of Minnesota’s neighboring states. But in Minnesota, in recent legislative sessions, sports betting bills have proved difficult to get across the finish line. 

This year, Republican Sen. Jeremy Miller from Winona, a former Senate majority leader, says he has a sports betting bill he will introduce the first day of the legislative session. 

Minnesota law gives native tribes exclusive rights to gaming in Minnesota. Miller’s bill would allow the tribes to keep those exclusive rights at casinos and on cell phones. He would allow the tribes to partner with Canterbury Park and Running Aces race tracks to offer sports betting there. 

In return, the tribes would have to support the rollback of changes to electronic pull tabs. The changes in pull tabs were approved last legislative session because the tribes objected that the games were looking too much like casino games. But that left the charities who are dependent on pull tabs angry.

Miller was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning at 10:30 a.m.

Sen. Jeremy Miller talks new sports betting proposal

“To say that charities are upset I think is an understatement. I am hearing from charities all over southeastern Minnesota who are very, very disappointed in how this went down last year,” he said. “Some of the functions on electronic pull tabs were eliminated last year. There was very little input from the charities, according to them.”

READ MORE: How is Minnesota’s new red flag law being enforced?

Now, not all Republicans support a sports betting bill, and neither do some Democrats, so any bill that passes would have to have bipartisan support, something Miller says is possible. 

The details of taxing sports gambling have always been a sticking point. Miller’s proposal would tax sports betting at 15%. He says that would generate $60 million annually. Under his plan, half would go to administering pull tab operations, the rest would be split between Minnesota Sports and Events, a relatively new organization designed to bring major events to Minnesota. Some would go to youth sports and to addressing problem gambling.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Adam Del Rosso every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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