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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

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The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

MN Sports-Betting Bill Advances

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Friday, March 3, 2023   

Another Minnesota House committee has endorsed a bill that would allow sports betting within the state, but there are calls to add some provisions as the measure advances.

If approved, licenses would be provided to tribal nations around Minnesota to create sportsbooks at casinos, and Minnesotans age 21 and older could also place wagers through their phones, using online apps.

Bill sponsors have said revenue would go toward regulations and consumer protections, with another 40% used to address problem gambling. Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling, said that language is appreciated, but she asked lawmakers if information-sharing can be included, too.

"Operators and their licensees will be collecting quite a bit of data that can help answer many questions that researchers have concerning gambling behaviors," she said, "and can provide insights into whether more individuals are becoming addicted to gambling."

Tucker, whose organization is neutral on legalizing sports betting, stressed that no personal information, including a bettor's identity, would be shared. She said at least two other states have these provisions in their laws. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association has said it needs more information before commenting on that recommendation.

Key supporters of the plan have said that with more than 30 other states already allowing sports betting, it's time for Minnesota to take something already being done on the black market and put it under the state's purview.

David Prestwood, government affairs manager for the online betting firm DraftKings, echoed that sentiment in his testimony.

"An estimated 1.17 million people in the state are making a combined total of more than $2.5 billion in illegal wagers annually," he said. "Nearly all of these wagers are placed online in the robust illegal market, where sophisticated illegal operators capitalize on the popularity of this form of entertainment."

As for the sharing of aggregated data, the bill's sponsor expressed a willingness to have more discussions about it. More broadly, the current version excludes horse tracks, potentially complicating final passage in the Legislature.

Disclosure: Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Consumer Issues, Mental Health, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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