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Sports Betting Bills in Maine, Missouri & Minnesota Gain TractionThree initially anti-gambling expansion states – Maine, Missouri, and Minnesota are pushing harder for regulation of sports betting. Bills in their respective lawmaking chambers are making significant progress and will likely bear fruition in 2022.
USA’s sports betting scene has been quite vibrant of late. Dozens of states are reaping some lucrative benefits from legalizing regulated sports betting. Now, the legalization of the activity has turned into a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. States like New York and Louisiana, which have recently moved to okay sports betting, are already bringing in so much money that it’s become hard to ignore, even for the more conservative states.
Maine, Missouri, and Minnesota were initially among the few states that remained hesitant to go ahead with sports betting legalization, but they have recently had a change of heart. Lawmakers in the respective states have noticed the opportunity in the regulation of events wagering and are doing what is necessary to get there. The legislative processes in the states are moving so fast that many gaming industry observers project that 2022 could be the year the trio finally passes bills to that effect. Here’s a breakdown of the progress that the trinity has made so far:
Maine: LD 585
After years of shutting down any proposals to legalize sports betting in the state, bill LD 585, introduced by Rep. Raphael Talbot Ross, held water for lawmakers as the Maine House Judiciary Committee approved it 8-6. One thing that keeps popping up is that Maine’s four native tribes seek to maintain control over what happens on tribal lands. A similar bill was proposed in 2021, but it hit a wall when State Governor Janet Mills vetoed it.
LD 585 proposes that the native tribes get a 40% share in the mobile sports betting market while outside operators get access to the remaining 60%. Fortunately, this time around governor is now showing full support, thereby changing the game, especially for outside operators like DraftKings, Caesars, and FanDuel.
If passed, LD 585 gives exclusive rights to tribal operators who would now have sole control over the mobile sports betting market in the state. In addition, the bill will amend the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, all for the benefit of the native tribes. As is usually the norm in other US states with tribal gaming, Maine is focused on avoiding any disputes that may arise due to disgruntled tribal governments.
Missouri: HB 2502
Missouri legislators who have been on the sports betting case began 2022 with a mission to finally cross the finish line. Multiple House and Senate Bills have been proposed in the last quarter, with high chances that at least one will be approved within the year. Two house bills were recently merged into one and tabled to the House floor, while some have already been presented to the Senate.
The aggressive efforts seem to have captured some attention, and the Missouri House of Representatives has just passed HB 2502, sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx. This measure aims to legalize sports betting for state casino operators and professional sports facilities. The bill passed with a 115-33 vote and will move forward to await the Senate’s vote. After that, the final stamp of approval would be Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s signature, and Missouri residents can finally start legally betting within the state borders.
This specific bill will allow 6 out of the 13 casino operators and 6 professional sports organizations in the state to manage 39 sportsbooks skins. In addition, both online and retail sports betting licenses will be awarded at an initial fee renewable annually. At just 8%, the tax rate fee proposed in HB 2502 is on the lower side compared to most states, and the estimated annual revenue for the state is $10 million.
Minnesota: HF 778
A sports betting bill – HF 778, tabled by Rep. Zack Stephenson, has received positive feedback through house committees and may soon be up for a vote on the House floor. The bill has detailed that 40% of the revenue generated from sports gambling in the state will be used to address issues of compulsive gambling and fund initiatives to promote responsible gambling.
The state’s native tribes have also been included, and following the bill’s passing, they will be able to partner with some of the major sportsbooks and facilitate mobile sports betting. Tribal nations, the University of Minnesota, and professional sports teams in the state were all involved in the drafting to cover all bases. Rep. Stephenson has expressed hope for the prospects of the bill passing, saying that adopting it will “displace that black market, and in doing so, provide consumer protection, ensure the integrity of the game, and limit money laundering and other illegal activity.”
As with any sports betting bill in the US, there are always parties who have a bone to pick with the proposal. In Minnesota’s case, the state’s charitable gaming organizations regarding the tax rate, which they have termed as creating a disparity and unfairness. The current tax rate for charitable gambling is 30%, while the bill proposes 10% for sports gambling.
The USA Sports Betting Train Continues to Gain Momentum
The PASPA of 1992 was overturned by the US Supreme Court in May 2018 to usher in a new era of sports betting regulation. Following the landmark ruling, bookmakers and sports betting experts have been lobbying for lawmakers to legalize sports betting in individual states, citing a positive outcome on the financial front for those who make up their minds sooner.
So far, more than 70% of the 50 states have been cashing in big on sports gambling after removing restrictions on in-person and online sports betting activities. States that have been hesitant to pass sports betting legalization bills have seen their citizens cross borders to neighboring states. This movement takes away revenue that would have otherwise remained within their borders and benefited their home states.
So, to seize the opportunity of adding more funds to their reserves, lawmakers across the US have been relentlessly tabling bills hoping that one may see the light of day in the Senate and House of Representatives. New York was also initially one of the conservative anti-gambling states but is now shattering records on the sports betting front!
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