A Minnesota sports betting bill passed another hurdle Thursday.
The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee advanced an MN sports betting bill with a 9-6 vote. Rep. Zack Stephenson has ushered HF 778 through three committees and will now take it to the Taxes Committee.
The bill legalizes Minnesota sports betting through the state’s tribes, creating up to 11 mobile licenses. Stephenson has stressed he wants to keep taxes low to promote competition.
Minnesota opponents lining up
Neighborhood Youth Academy‘s Donnell Bratton and Stop Predatory Gambling‘s Les Bernal expressed concerns about the bill’s potential impact on Minnesota’s children.
In previous committees, Stephenson committed to raising the minimum sports betting age from 18 to 21.
During a committee meeting last week, Electronic Gaming Group Executive Director Sam Krueger said he wants protections for the nearly $3 billion charitable gaming sector. Krueger was back Thursday advocating for the inclusion of the industry, which includes bingo, raffles and electronic pulltabs through nonprofit entities.
Tribes still support Minnesota sports betting
Along with Stephenson, Minnesota Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Andy Platto testified in support of the bill.
According to Platto, the state’s tribes are still in favor of the general concept of the bill and offering input as it moves forward.
The tribes opposed the gaming expansion in prior years.
Best shot yet in Minnesota
While the House bill charges ahead, plenty of hurdles remain.
An industry source told LSR the Senate proposal is “a long way off from where the tribes and House are.” The Senate proposal includes the state’s racetracks and professional sports teams, which might be a dealbreaker for the tribes.