Senate Problems Hit Sports Betting Legalization Plans

Legalized sports betting in Minnesota, USA, has moved a significant step forward. The House of Representatives have passed legislation that will see both in-person and mobile sports betting made legal in Minnesota. However, getting the bill through the Senate is not looking likely at present.

Senate approval is necessary before the bill can be given to the governor to sign into law. In Minnesota, it is the Native American tribes who would oversee in-person and mobile sports betting. They currently run the 11 state casinos that exist in Minnesota.

It’s Bill HF778 that is attempting to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. It was authored by the Democrat Representative Zack Stephenson. One reason why over 30 US states have legalized sports betting is the thought of all the gambling tax revenue they will receive. The bill states that there will be a five per cent tax on adjusted gross revenue.

There wasn’t a great deal of opposition to the bill as it passed through the House of Representatives. A tougher battle is expected in the state Senate. The Republican Majority Leader is Jeremy Miller and he’s not a fan of the bill. His view is no real benefits will be received to any other group apart from the Native American tribes.

That may be one reason why this bill does not have the necessary support in the Senate to be passed. Rep. Pat Garofalo supports legalizing sports betting in Minnesota. He has called for changes to be made to the bill. “Now is the time to bring stakeholders together to work on legislation that can pass with broad, bipartisan support in both legislative chambers,” he said.

Mr Garofalo believes that “through compromise and working together” a bill can be created that “satisfies the concerns of stakeholders and lawmakers.”

The bill states that there would be two master sports betting licences available. They can only be held by the local Native American tribes. The holders can then partner with mobile sports betting operators, but they must be ones also owned by the tribes. The bill would see a northern license with as many as seven tribes and four with the southern licence.

Meanwhile it looks unlikely that there will be any sports betting legalized in Missouri during the 2022 Senate legislative session. The attempt to legalize sports betting has run into problems after state casinos refused to support any bills with that aim.

Senator Denny Hoskins supports legalizing sports betting in Missouri. He tweeted on May 12 that the three sports betting bills would not be discussed during the current session. This is because two casinos had not shown approval.

Two months ago, the Missouri House of Representatives had passed a bill in favour of legalizing sports betting. Then came the problems in the Senate that have delayed everything. The hope is that a resolution can be found.

Mike Leara is the Chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission. He believes legalizing sports betting would see around $9 million in tax revenue being receive by the state. With other states offering sports betting, he believes that sum “may be too much for the legislature to ignore.”

Neighbouring state Kansas has just legalized sports betting as have other bordering states, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Illinois and Iowa. Missouri will become frustrated that their residents can just cross the border and place sports bets giving their neighbours all that tax revenue while they get nothing.

It’s likely solutions in Minnesota and Missouri will be found. However, it’s going to take a while, so the long wait for legalization of sports betting will continue.