Gambling proposals abound in 2013 Legislature

12 March 2013

As expected, there is no shortage of gambling expansion proposals awaiting consideration by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature.

House File 522, authored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis, would authorize sports betting on professional and collegiate sports and athletic events in Minnesota now also available at a wide range of casino selections online. The bill has been referred to the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee. Rep. Kahn has introduced similar bills in the past without success.

Rep. Kahn also has introduced HF 989, which would allow slot machines at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. Similar proposals have been defeated in previous years.

Of greater concern is HF 988, a bill to authorize racinos at Minnesota racetracks. Since Canterbury Park is not seeking a racino due to its marketing agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the only racetrack eligible for slot machines under the bill is Running Aces Harness Track, located in Columbus Township on the northern edge of the Twin Cities metro area. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tom Hackbarth, who has authored previous racino bills.

Previous racino discussions had been centered around Canterbury Park, the state’s only thoroughbred racetrack, but in 2012 Canterbury officials abandoned efforts to secure a racino after signing a joint marketing agreement with Mystic Lake Casino to increase purses and pursue cooperative marketing efforts.

So far, none of the gambling expansion proposals seem to be generating broad support, but MIGA is following them closely. Minnesota has enough gambling already, and MIGA tribes will continue to oppose further expansion.