Two Minnesota lawmakers hosted a virtual press conference Tuesday morning to officially announce that they will be filing sports betting laws, and they almost begged their colleagues to create a safe, legal environment for bettors.
“It’s already being made open,” said Senator Karla Bigham. “So it’s time to put some guard rails around it. … but you’re not legalizing sports betting or marijuana to solve a budget problem. They do this to create a good customer experience. “
Bigham held a joint press conference with Rep. Pat Garofalo, who previously introduced sports betting laws in Minnesota, but the tribes of the state are and have been against it, and these earlier legislative attempts have stalled. In addition, the legislature is reportedly against – or at least not too interested – in including sports betting at this session.
“People are ready to see it”
On Tuesday, both Bigham and Garofalo said their bills are merely starting points for talks, but they both clearly want to legalize as soon as possible. States across Minnesota have or are already considering legalization, including mobile wagering with Iowa approved remote registration.
South Dakota voters were legalized by referendum last November, and lawmakers are currently developing a framework for it. A hearing will be held in North Dakota on Wednesday to discuss a new sports betting law.
“People are ready to see it,” said Garofalo. “You’re fed up with going to Iowa to place sports bets.”
Bigham said of Wisconsin, one of two Minnesota border states with no legal bets, “If Wisconsin does it before us, I don’t know what to think.”
“I love Minnesota. I’ve lived here all my life. I just don’t know why we have to be the 45th or 46th state to do it all, ”said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, who has sponsored several bills to legalize sports betting since the court ruling. t .co / AsK1B2OAtJ
– Peter Callaghan (@CallaghanPeter) January 18, 2021
The requirement that customers personally register their accounts is likely to be criticized by stakeholders. When Iowa was legalized in 2019, the law provided for an 18-month mandate for personal registration that expired on January 1, 2021. Sports betting in Iowa is expected to see a large surge in handle and gross gaming revenue this month.
And in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker has been putting personal registration on hold (mostly) since June amid the COVID-19 crisis. During the press conference, Bigham declined to go into the details of the bill. Regarding personal registration, however, she said, “It is important to have [in-person registration] there for a discussion point. We have to show what worked and what didn’t. … This will be an important part of the future conversation. “
Lawmakers gave a brief rundown of the bills submitted – retail sports betting would be allowed in casinos and on racetracks across the state, and after a year mobile / online platforms could be launched but personal registration would be required. The tax rate would be 6% on retail betting revenues and 8% on mobile betting revenues. The bills should be filed and available in the next day or two, and both lawmakers reiterated that the bills are the start of the conversation.
“We wanted to put in a bill to keep everyone around the table to discuss,” said Bigham. “And to give people who support sports betting a voice at the table. It’s quite different from anything that was introduced. “
Bigham and Garofalo announced their intention to legislate last week, and between then and Tuesday’s press conference, Minnesota’s tribes again expressed their opposition. Calls to Sports Handle’s Minnesota Indian Gaming Association went unanswered.
“In response to the enactment of the legislation, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association said in a statement that it” continues to oppose the expansion of non-reservation gambling, including the legalization of sports betting. “Https://t.co/gog4kVRbKG
– John Kriesel (@johnkriesel) January 26, 2021
The position of the trunks is not unusual. With the exception of Michigan, where the tribes agreed to keep sports betting state regulated and pay taxes, those in the Indian country in the US have been slow to adopt mobile sports betting for fear that it might divert business from their retail locations. The Connecticut tribes appear to be on the verge of endorsing laws that would allow nationwide mobile devices, but the state is likely to see a duopoly limited to sports betting linked only to the two tribes of the state, not one Market in which a large number of brands compete with one another. And in Washington state, lawmakers legalized retail sports betting in tribal casinos only last year, but not online.
MN spokesman: Sports betting have no hope
Inside lawmakers, Bigham and Garofalo appear to be having an uphill battle after House spokeswoman Melissa Hortman made it clear last week that sports betting is not an issue for the leadership.
“We don’t really need social issues that separate people,” Hortman told WCCO. “I don’t know any of the lawmakers support this [sports gambling legislation]. I think the legislation has no hope this year. “
Bigham, who said during the press conference that she and Hortman are close friends, downplayed the comments, as did Garofalo.
“I think it’s similar to Sunday’s alcohol sales deal,” he said. “Everyone said it wouldn’t work, and then it did.”
The state legalized the sale of liquor on Sundays in 2017.
Minnesota’s term ends on May 17th. Garofalo said during the press conference that the House was holding an informative hearing on sports betting today, but apart from the fact that no further hearings are planned in either chamber.