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Minnesota sports betting bill advances to the next stage

Minnesota could soon have sports betting

HF 2000, the sports betting bill introduced by Minnesota Representative Zach Stevenson, has advanced to the next stage of deliberations in the state legislative house.

The bill, which seeks to bring sports betting to Minnesota while keeping it restricted to tribal casinos, has gotten the green light from the Minnesota House of Commerce, Finance, and Policy committee.

HF 2000 wants to legalise online and retail sports betting in Minnesota. The bill proposes that the industry be exclusively run by the 11 tribes in the state under a gaming compact.

Essentially, each tribe will be allowed one digital platform and one land-based location. Then each tribe can choose to run their sportsbook by themselves or by partnering with commercial operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Barstool Sportsbook, and so on.

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The bill further proposes that for all bets placed off tribal lands but through tribally owned platforms, there will be a 10% tax. Meanwhile, bets placed on tribal grounds will attract no taxation. For now, the bill has moved to the House Judiciary and Civil Law Committee for deliberations.

HF 2000 is not new to the state house in Minnesota. Rep. Stephenson introduced it last year, but the bill did not fly. Though this year is looking like the year the bill will become law, there are misgivings about it.

For one, the state’s two licenced horse racing tracks, Canterbury Park and Running Acres, have been left out of the bill. While the bill catered to the tribes, it did not reflect the interests of the race tracks. Both parties are asking for an expansion of the bill to garner their support.

“We feel strongly that any effort to add sports betting to the gaming options in Minnesota needs to include input from the tracks, as well as tribal governments and the sports teams,” Randy Sampson, Chairman and CEO of Canterbury Park, said.

“Adding new gaming options at Canterbury has never proved to be a threat to tribal gaming. And these options just provide a different type of economic development.

“On the other hand, just ignoring horse racing when considering new forms of gaming can cause the loss of significant economic benefits to the Minnesota horse industry and to the state of Minnesota.”

On the other hand, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) has thrown the full weight of its support behind the bill. Commercial operator DraftKings has also expressed its support for the bill.

Meanwhile, a similar bill to HF 2000 has been introduced in the Senate, though it has yet to have a reading. Introduced by Senator Jeremy Miller, the Minnesota Sports Betting Act seeks to legalise retail and online sports betting across Minnesota.

The only difference between it and HF 2000 is that it includes the two horse race tracks and professional sports teams in the state.

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