Minnesotans could bet while attending a sporting event and on their computers and cellphones under a bill proposed by a GOP lawmaker.
“This is long overdue and the time to get it done is now,” Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said Tuesday while detailing a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state. He noted that at least 36 states allow sports wagering and many residents travel across state lines to place bets.
Under Miller’s proposal the nine tribal nations, two horse racing tracks and professional sports teams could offer or expand onsite sports gambling. Each of the tribal nations also could offer online sports gambling and could do so in partnership with a sports team or horse track.
Additionally, Miller’s legislation allows temporary wagering licenses for major sporting events like the Super Bowl, Big Ten Championship or professional golf.
Tax revenue from betting would be equally split four ways between charities, youth sports, problem gambling services and efforts to attract major sporting events.
“There’s a piece of the action for everyone,” Miller said.
Miller’s bill mirrors one Republicans have signaled support for in previous years. It is not exclusive to the state nine tribal nations, which has been the preferred method for Democrats in the past.
The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association said it back the expansion of sports betting into mobile and online platforms. In a statement the group said it was best positioned to offer online betting.
The gaming association and its members “will be closely following the progress of state legislation and look forward to working with other stakeholders to develop an approach that benefits Minnesotans while protecting the Indian gaming operations that tribal and rural communities rely on for jobs and economic health,” the group said in its statement.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leaders were not immediately available for comment, but have expressed openness to expanding gambling in the state.
Miller acknowledged that he had not talked to Democratic leaders who now have narrow control over the House and Senate. He hopes to garner bipartisan support for his bill or something close to it.
“I don’t think a tribal exclusive bill has the votes to pass the Legislature,” Miller said.