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  • After weeks of dormancy, Minnesota Senators took up a invoice in committee to legalize sports activities betting within the state
  • The Senate State and Native Authorities Committee didn’t take motion on Sen. Matt Klein’s invoice
  • In an effort to achieve assist from the state’s two horse tracks, Klein proposed an modification to chop them in on sports activities betting revenues

A Minnesota lawmaker yesterday offered an attention-grabbing modification to his Minnesota sports activities betting invoice throughout a Senate committee listening to, proposing an enormous change to combine state horse tracks into sports activities betting plans.

Sen. Matt Klein (DFL-53) proposed a number of amendments to his sports activities betting invoice, SF 1949, throughout yesterday’s Senate State and Native Authorities Committee listening to, considered one of which might ship 30% of the state’s sports activities betting tax revenues to a newly created fund to assist Minnesota’s horse tracks.

With the modification, Klein hopes to appease state race tracks being prohibited from providing sports activities betting on their very own.

The committee heard testimony on the invoice, however took no motion. It’s anticipated to debate once more subsequent week.

Too Little, Too Late?

Klein’s sports activities betting invoice is a Senate companion piece to Rep. Zack Stephenson’s (DFL-Coon Rapids) invoice, HF 2000, which seeks to legalize retail and on-line sports activities betting for Minnesota state tribes. The proposed laws offers tribes sports activities betting exclusivity, permitting every to have a retail sportsbook location and one digital pores and skin to supply on-line sports activities betting.

Representatives for the state’s two horse racing tracks, Working Aces and Canterbury Park, have opposed any invoice that provides tribes exclusivity over Minnesota sports activities betting.

In an effort to appease the tracks, Klein proposed an modification to dedicate 30% of the state’s sports activities betting income to a newly created Horse Racing Financial Growth Fund operated by the Minnesota Racing Fee. The funding could be capped at $20 million, however after the cap is reached an extra $3 million yearly could be deposited for observe use.

The Horse Racing Financial Growth Fund might be utilized by the tracks to assist psychological well being packages for jockeys, stewards, and backstretch staff, will increase in compensation to backstretch staff, funding analysis tasks to review equine sickness and illness, and enhancements in breeding methods, Klein stated throughout the listening to.

Representatives for each tracks thanked the Senator for together with the modification, however didn’t assist the modifications throughout the committee listening to.

Tracie Wilson, CFO of Working Aces, stated it’s “important that the state’s two race tracks be handled pretty with respect to any sports activities betting enlargement.”

“Whereas we respect Sen. Klein’s efforts, Working Aces might want to discover different sources of income to offset the misplaced income with the present model of the sports activities betting invoice. Sports activities betting will lead to a big lack of income for Working Aces. The tracks stand to lose revenues which might be essential to maintain the complete operations with a purpose to assist horse racing,” she stated.

Wilson stated the observe supported earlier laws to permit craps and roulette on the state’s two tracks, and Native American casinos, which might go a great distance in direction of offering further income if sports activities betting is legalized.

Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson additionally thanked Klein for his efforts however stated the income plan wouldn’t be sufficient to offset potential losses for tracks.

“We’re expressing our opposition to the invoice at the moment,” Sampson stated.

Tribal Sports activities Betting Exclusivity Will Stay

Andy Platto, govt director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Affiliation (MIGA), stated MIGA wouldn’t take an official stance on the modification, however the group would nonetheless assist the invoice if it was included.

Throughout 2022 sports activities betting discussions, MIGA opposed inclusion of state horse tracks in any sports activities betting plans. Its assist for a sports activities betting invoice is essential for any potential legalization efforts in Minnesota.

Klein stated tribal sports activities betting exclusivity will stay in any potential laws transferring ahead this yr.

“This invoice has been amended alongside the way in which, however one precept which has by no means been violated, nor will it’s violated, is tribal exclusivity over these licenses,” he stated.

Robert Linnehan

Regulatory Author and Editor