Minnesota sports betting bill garners more public support

Sports betting update

The latest local, regional and national news events of the day are presented by the ABC 6 News Team, along with updated sports, weather and traffic.

(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota’s sports betting bill has been a juggling act for legislators, making sure every stakeholder gets a slice of the revenue-pie.

“There’s a new development every week it seems like and there is a lot of interest,” Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).

The North Star State is looking to become the 31st in the nation to legalize sports betting.

“Yeah, I believe people should have the opportunity to do it. It’s a personal decision they need to make, and they need to be responsible,” said Karen Cocker of Rochester.

But it’s been a long road for the bill.

“Traditionally the tribes, as one might expect, they kind of like the unilateral hold that they have on gambling. Why have other players in that arena they might think, and so, that’s always been a bit of the challenge,” said Nelson.

But a deal last session did have the support from Minnesota tribes, but not small bars and charitable gambling groups that heavily benefit from pull tabs.

In the 2024 legislative session, the sports betting bill is moving along, including a Senate proposal that would raise the tax on wages from 10 to 20%.

Those extra dollars would go to charitable gambling, compulsive gambling programs and the horse tracks, something that seems to be getting a lot of support.

“I would have to agree with that. As long as it’s split up and everyone gets their share, I would agree with that,” said Harvey Cocker.

Another issue being hashed out is concern over mobile gambling and what kind of impact that could have on Minnesota businesses.

“I think, as most people know, The big companies that are involved because they are advertised all over sporting events your Draft Kings, I think ESPN now has a wing that is dedicated to sports gambling. So, if we legalize the sports gambling those companies are probably going to be the major players in the state. And so, we want to protect the revenue of Minnesota companies and our sovereign states once that happens,” said Rep. Andy Smith (DFL-Rochester).

Legislators say there’s still plenty of work to do, but it’s worth noting legalizing sports gambling has a lot of public support and it appears to be simply a matter of ironing out those fine details.