Why legalizing sports betting (still) faces such long odds at the Legislature this year

Legal sports gambling may be coming to Minnesota. However, it doesn’t appear to be in much of a hurry.
Consider that the Senate bill that could partly conjure sports books in Minnesota narrowly slipped from its first committee Thursday (and faces an uncertain response at its next stop). The majority leader of the Senate is not keen on the idea. The state’s 11 Native American tribes are opposed. Anti-gambling and many religious organizations tend to be more than And, oh yeah, it doesn’t increase much money.
There’s also this: the House bill on precisely the same topic hasn’t been set for a hearing, lacks assistance in DFL leadership, also faces lots of the very same liabilities as the Senate bill.
Other than that, it’s a certain thing.
Introduced by Senate Taxes Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, the Senate’s sports betting bill, SF 1894, will have exemptions from both Republican and DFL senators. And it created its first official appearance before Chamberlain’s own committee Thursday. “This is a business, it’s a profession, it’s amusement,” Chamberlain said. “People do make a living off of this… and they also have a great deal of fun”
And although it isn’t lawful in Minnesota, there are a lot of men and women who bet illegally or via abroad mobile or online sites. Chamberlain thinks by legalizing and regulating it, the state might bring to the surface what is currently underground.
But sports gambling is a low profit business for casinos; a lot of what is wagered is returned to players as winnings, which means that could be subject to state taxation,”the hold,” is comparatively small. Chamberlain’s bill would tax that amount — the amount of wagers minus winnings — at 6.75 percent.
State Sen. Roger Chamberlain
MinnPost photograph by Peter Callaghan
State Sen. Roger Chamberlain
“Many nations think it is a money-maker for them also it might be,” Chamberlain said. “But we’re not in this to raise a great deal of revenue. We would like people to take part in the business and have some fun doing it.” Casinos and race tracks could benefit using sports betting as a means to attract more people into their casinos,” he said.
The bill says that if the nation’s tribes want to offer sports gambling, they would have to ask a new compact with the state, something demanded by national law. The country is bound to deal in good faith which includes agreeing to any kind of gaming already permitted off reservation.
Nevertheless, the executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, John McCarthy, said Thursday that the tribes have many worries about the House and Senate bills, and therefore are in no rush to add sports betting to their surgeries.
McCarthy said the tribes have invested billions of dollars in gambling facilities and use them to raise money to pay for”human services, schools, schools, home, nutrition programs, wastewater treatment facilities, law enforcement and emergency services, and other solutions.”
“Since these operations are crucial to the capacity of tribal governments to meet the needs of the people, MIGA has had a longstanding position opposing the expansion of off-reservation gambling in Minnesota,” McCarthy explained. The cellular aspects of the bill, ” he said, would”make the most significant expansion of gambling in Minnesota in over the usual quarter-century, and consequently MIGA must respectfully oppose SF1894.”
He said the tribes were particularly concerned about mobile gambling and how it could lead to much more online gaming,”which represents a much more significant threat to all types of bricks-and-mortar facilities which now provide gambling: Japanese casinos, race tracks, lottery outlets, and bars with charitable gambling.”
Also opposed was an anti-gambling expansion set and a religious social justice firm. Ann Krisnik, executive director of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, cited the state financial note that stated the earnings impacts of this bill were unknown.
“It’s unknown not only concerning revenue, but it’s unknown also concerning the greatest costs this creates for the nation,” Krisnik stated, citing societal expenses of gambling.
Jake Grassel, the executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, said the bill was a terrible deal for the nation. “The arguments in favour of legalizing sports betting may seem meritorious at first blush — which is, bringing an unregulated form of betting out of the shadows,” Grassel said. “Upon further consideration and reflection, the costs are too high and the benefits are too little.”
A way to’start conversations with the tribes’
The Senate bill finally passed the Taxes Committee with five yes votesno votes and a”pass.” Two other members were absent. It now goes to the Senate Government Operations Committee.
Following the taxes committee vote, Chamberlain stated he believes this a method to begin conversations with the tribes. Even if the bill passes, it will not take effect until September of 2020. And compacts would need to be negotiated to clear the way for on-reservation sports betting.
“We’re hopeful that they’ll come on board,” Chamberlain said of the tribes. “Their business model won’t continue forever. Young people don’t visit casinos. I go to them occasionally with my spouse and other people and frequently I am the youngest one there and I’m within my mid-50s. We think it’s a business enhancer.
“I know their care but we are right there together and when they make more comfortable and more people understand more about it, I am confident we will move,” he said.
Later in the afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka stated the GOP caucus hasn’t met to discuss the matter and he isn’t in a hurry. He explained the mobile betting aspects are of special concerns to him and he’s personally opposed.
“I do know that it requires more time and that is the one thing I’m gonna ask of this bill,” Gazelka explained. “It is come forward around the nation and we’re gonna have to manage it like any other matter. But it is not a partisan issue.”
Some thorny questions that are legal All of this became possible when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last spring that Congress had exceeded its power when it announced that sports gambling was illegal (except in Nevada, where it was already operating at the time). New Jersey had sued to clear the way for sports books at its struggling Atlantic City casinos.
The decision quickly led states across the country contemplating whether to legalize and regulate sports betting. Eight already have, and surveys indicate legalizing sports gambling has wide popular support.
The problem for the country’s gambling tribes is if they’d make enough out of the new gaming option to compensate for the potentially gigantic growth of it off-reservation. There is also no clear answer to if tribes can do much with mobile gaming, because the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that created the financial increase of casino gaming allows betting only on reservations. Though some countries have announced that having the computer servers that process bets on reservations is enough to obey the law, the problem has not yet been litigated.
The House and Senate bills also increase a thorny political and legal issue since they apply state taxation to tribal gambling, something the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Commission has ruled is not allowed. While tribes in different states have consented to discuss gambling revenue with states, it has come with invaluable concession — for example tribal exclusivity over gambling.
Even though the House bill gives the tribes a monopoly for the time being, the Senate version cuts the nation’s two horse racing tracks in on the activity. A 2018 evaluation of the problem for the Minnesota Racing Commission calls sports betting a”momentous threat” to racing, but notes that each of the countries but one which have legalized sports gambling have let it be offered at race tracks. As reported by the commission, the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation has concluded that”he obvious means of minimizing the potential negative impacts of legalized sports gambling on the racing industry is to allow sports betting at racetracks and to direct net revenues to the aid of breeding and racing in the nation. ”
The Senate bill allows a type of mobile betting but necessitates using geofencing to assure the bettor is within state boundaries and requires them to get an account that has been created in person at the casino or race track. It also creates a Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission, which will make rules such as what types of bets would be allowed and control the matches.

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