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

Legal sports gambling may be coming to Minnesota. But it doesn’t appear to be in much of a hurry.
Consider the Senate bill that could partially conjure sports novels in Minnesota narrowly slipped out of its first questionnaire Thursday (and faces an uncertain reaction at its next stop). The majority leader of the Senate is not keen on the thought. The nation’s 11 Native American tribes are opposed. Anti-gambling and several religious organizations tend to be more than And, oh yeah, it doesn’t raise much money.
There’s this: the House bill on precisely the same topic has not been set for a hearing, lacks support from DFL leadership, and faces many of the same liabilities as the Senate bill.
Other than that, it’s a sure thing.
Introduced by Senate Taxes Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, the Senate’s sports gambling bill, SF 1894, does have sponsorship from both Republican and DFL senators. And it created its first official appearance before Chamberlain’s own committee Thursday. “This is a business, it is a profession, it is amusement,” Chamberlain said. “Individuals do make a living from the… and they also have a great deal of fun.”
And even though it is not lawful in Minnesota, there are a lot of people who gamble illegally or via abroad mobile or online websites. Chamberlain thinks by legalizing and regulating it, the state could bring to the surface what’s now underground.
But sports gambling is a minimal profit business for casinos; much of what’s wagered is returned to players as winnings, so that could be subject to state taxation,”the hold,” is relatively modest. Chamberlain’s bill would tax that amount — the amount of all wagers minus winnings — in 6.75 percent.
State Sen. Roger Chamberlain
MinnPost photograph by Peter Callaghan
State Sen. Roger Chamberlain
“Many states think it is a money-maker for these and it might be,” Chamberlain said. “But we’re not in this to raise a whole lot of revenue. We want people to take part in the business and have some fun doing it.” Race and casinos tracks could benefit using sports betting as a way to bring more people into their casinos,” he said.
The bill says that if the nation’s tribes wish to provide sports gambling, they’d have to request a new compact with the state, something demanded by national law. The country is obligated to deal in good faith and that includes agreeing to any kind of gaming already allowed off reservation.
Nevertheless, the executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, John McCarthy, said Thursday that the tribes have many worries about both the House and Senate bills, also are in no rush to incorporate sports betting to their operations.
McCarthy said the tribes have invested billions of dollars in gambling facilities and use them to raise money to pay for”services, schools, clinics, home, nutrition plans, wastewater treatment centers, law enforcement and emergency services, and other solutions.”
“Since these operations are crucial to the ability of tribal governments to satisfy the requirements of their people, MIGA has had a longstanding position opposing the expansion of off-reservation gambling in Minnesota,” McCarthy said. The cellular aspects of the bill, he said, would”create the most significant expansion of gambling in Minnesota in more than a quarter-century, and therefore MIGA must respectfully oppose SF1894.”
He said that the tribes were particularly worried about mobile gaming and how it might lead to even more online gambling,”which represents an even more significant threat to all sorts of bricks-and-mortar facilities that now offer gambling: Japanese casinos, race tracks, lottery outlets, and bars with charitable gambling.”
Also opposed was an anti-gambling expansion group and a spiritual social justice firm. Ann Krisnik, executive director of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, cited the state financial note that said the earnings impacts of this bill were unknown.
“It is unknown not just in terms of revenue, but it is unknown also in terms of the greatest costs this creates for the nation,” Krisnik said, citing social costs of gambling.
Jake Grassel, the executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, said the bill was a bad deal for the nation. “The arguments in favour of legalizing sports gambling may appear meritorious at first blush — which is, bringing an unregulated form of betting out of the shadows,” Grassel stated. “Upon further reflection and consideration, the prices are too high and the advantages are too little.”
A method to’begin conversations with the tribes’
The Senate bill ultimately passed the Taxes Committee with five votesno votes and one”pass” Two other members were absent. It now belongs to the Senate Government Operations Committee.
After the taxation 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 have to be negotiated to clear the way for on-reservation sports betting.
“We are optimistic that they’ll come on board,” Chamberlain said of the tribes. “Their business model won’t continue forever. Young people do not 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 believe it’s a business enhancer.
“I know their caution but we are right there together and when they get more comfortable and more people know more about it, I’m confident we will move,” he said.
Later in the afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka stated the GOP caucus hasn’t met to talk about the issue and that he isn’t in a rush. He said the cellular gambling aspects are of particular concerns to him and he is personally opposed.
“I do know that it needs more time and that’s the 1 thing I’m gonna inquire of this bill,” Gazelka said. “It is come forward around the nation and we are gonna have to manage it like any other matter. But it’s not a partisan matter.”
Some thorny questions 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 prohibited (except in Nevada, in which it was already operating at the time). New Jersey had sued to clear the way for sports novels at its fighting Atlantic City casinos.
The conclusion quickly led countries across the nation considering whether to legalize and regulate sports gambling. Eight have, and surveys indicate legalizing sports gambling has broad popular support.
The issue for the nation’s gambling tribes is if they would make enough out of the new gaming option to compensate for the potentially gigantic growth of this off-reservation. There’s also no obvious response to whether tribes can do much with cellular gaming, because the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that generated the economic increase of casino gaming allows gambling only on bookings. Though some states have announced that using the computer servers which process bets on reservations is enough to comply with the law, the issue has not yet been litigated.
The House and Senate bills also raise a thorny political and legal issue since they apply state taxes to tribal gaming, something the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Commission has ruled is not allowed. While tribes in different nations have consented to share gaming revenue with countries, it’s come with invaluable concession — such as tribal exclusivity over gambling.
While the House bill provides the tribes a monopoly for now, the Senate version cuts the state’s two horse racing tracks in on the activity. A 2018 analysis of the problem for the Minnesota Racing Commission calls sports gambling a”momentous threat” to racing, but notes that each of the states but one that have legalized sports gambling have allowed it to be provided at race tracks. As reported by the commission, the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation has concluded that”he obvious means of minimizing the possible negative effects of legalized sports gambling on the racing market would be to allow sports betting at racetracks and also to direct internet revenues to the support of racing and breeding in the state. ”
The Senate bill enables a type of mobile betting but requires the use of geofencing to ensure the bettor is within state boundaries and needs them to have an account that has been created in person at the casino or race track. It also creates a Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission, which would make rules including what kinds of bets will be allowed and also regulate the games.

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