Minnesota lawmakers try to legalize sports betting, but face obstacles

Minnesota state Senators made a “late-stage push” Thursday to legalize sports betting, but “the odds of a final deal are growing increasingly slim,” according to Galioto & Montemayor of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Senate Finance Committee voted 5-4 to advance a bill “expanding for-profit gambling in the state,” but with just four days left in the '22 session -- and with work remaining on major tax and spending measures -- key differences "remain in sports betting proposals from the two legislative bodies." The "biggest sticking point" is whether Minnesotans "should be allowed to place bets at racetracks." The House bill passed last week would give the state's Native American tribes "sole control over wagers, which could be placed at tribal casinos, and online through vendors the tribes oversee." After a "string of failed attempts" to legalize sports betting in previous sessions, the tribes that previously fought such changes "indicated they support the House measure crafted with their input" by state Rep. Zack Stephenson. Minnesota is surrounded by states that have "already legalized sports betting," and proponents say that many residents "already place wagers illegally." If the tribes, racetracks and charitable gambling organizations can reach a compromise on the issue, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said "I believe that we would have the votes to pass it on the Senate floor" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/19).

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