Minnesota Bill Approves Horse Race Gambling

A bill recently passed in St. Paul, Minnesota gave approval for tribal casino members around the state to add card tables, increase betting limits and broadcast horse races. The bill was passed in the House 2 days after it was passed in the Senate and will now be sent to Governor Mark Dayton for approval.

The bill will raise the betting limit of the places from $60 to $100 and raise the number of card tables per site from 60 to 80. Other games like Blackjack would see players betting against the house as opposed to betting against each other and the house taking a part of the winnings, as was done in the past.

The bill will also allow broadcasting and wagering at tribal casinos, Shakopee and Columbus, over which the State has less power but it is unclear if tribes would take advantage of the change. Furthermore, the tribes might not be willing to share their revenue with the State, said John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.

The tribes and the track owners have always been at logger heads with each other when it came to getting slot machines at track sites, especially at Canterbury Park, Shakopee, which the tribal casinos have had exclusive rights to.

The bill has seen a wave of disapproval in the state and in history. The Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992 annulled a bill that legalized off-track betting on racing. In 1994, voters moved the Supreme Court to prohibit off-track betting.

Doubts over where the proceeds from the changes will go are abundant. Supporters of the bill say that the money they make will be invested in horse racing again which in turn would boost the states equine industry. Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plainetold belittled the move by telling members that what they were voting for was to further expand an expanding business. Lawmakers argued that it was unclear as to who would gain from the changes. Those against gambling called it a move that was allowing the expansion of the industry by adding more games, tables and increasing bets.

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