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Lawmakers to push for legalized sports betting next session

(The Center Square) – Surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting, some Minnesota lawmakers will push to create additional tax revenue and entertainment next session.

Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, held a press conference to announce his plan to pursue legalized sports betting.

“Minnesotans deserve the chance to engage in safe and legal sports betting right here in Minnesota,” Stephenson said. “That is why I am announcing I will lead an effort to legalize sports betting during the next regular session of the Legislature.”

North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois have legalized online or retail sports betting. Since the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state authorization of sports betting in 2018, 29 states and Washington D.C. offer sports betting. Three others have legalized it but are not operating yet.

“I have heard from Minnesotans across the state who are interested in having the same opportunities that our neighbors have,” Stephenson added. “This will be the most significant change to Minnesota’s gaming laws in many years. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We will need to work carefully with the [sic] those who have the expertise necessary to ensure this is done right, in particular our sovereign tribal nations, but also our professional sports teams, experts in problem gaming and many others.”

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R- Lino Lakes, is leading GOP efforts to legalize sports betting.

"I plan on introducing a bill to legalize sports betting this session, as I have done in the past,” Chamberlain said in a statement.” You work hard for your money, and if you want to place a little money in support of your favorite team, you shouldn’t have to drive to Iowa or use an international gambling app to do it. Sports wagering is good entertainment. It is a business and it will create jobs. I hope to earn bipartisan support as we work to open these betting markets in Minnesota."

The 2022 legislative session is set to start on January 31. Stephenson will consult with tribal leaders, stakeholders, and community members to develop and introduce legislation.

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