Sports-betting bills call for tax relief on charitable gambling, restoration of game features

By Tim Engstrom
Veterans from several American Legion posts were present Monday, Feb. 26, at ACM Day on the Hill.

ST. PAUL — Charitable gambling organizations from across Minnesota came to the State Capitol on Monday, Feb. 26, to tell lawmakers to support state Sen. Jeremy Miller’s sports betting bill.

“It restores our games and gives us tax relief,” said Rachel Jenner, director of Allied Charities of Minnesota.

Allied Charities of Minnesota welcomed its member organizations to the 2024 ACM Day on the Hill. Members gathered in a conference room on the ground floor of the Capitol, then enjoyed lunch at the Transportation Building, then met with their state senators and representatives.

From left are Allied Charities of Minnesota Executive Director Rachel Jenner, Public Relations Specialist Brian McClung and Protect Our Charities Executive Director Keith Franke.

The bill Jenner was talking about is Senate File 3803. It establishes sports betting through the 11 Indian tribes in Minnesota, with betting conducted at casinos or over mobile phones, along with setting taxes. Its companion is House File 4090, authored by state Rep. Pat Garafalo of Farmington. Miller is from Winona.

The part of the bill that concerns charities is the removal of language that limits free plays and bonus games. It leaves in the requirement to manually activate each row.

The bill also calls for tax relief payments to licensed charitable organizations. The language has the state remitting payments on a pro rata basis by Oct. 1 to each licensed organization based on combined net receipts. In other words, the better sports gambling does, the more tax relief charitable gambling receives.

“The American Legion has been working with lawmakers and our partners at Allied Charities of Minnesota for months on ways to bring meaningful tax relief to our posts that have charitable gambling operations,” said Kristy Janigo of Osseo Post 172.

She is the chairwoman of the Department of Minnesota Legislative Committee.

“We recognize that revenues from sports betting taxes will be the mechanism that allows the state to deliver a historic level of tax cuts. We support these efforts because this has potential to bring much-needed funds back into our local communities providing relief to people in need, funding for youth sports and resources to veterans,” she said.

Former state Rep. Keith Franke of St. Paul Park is the executive director of Protect Our Charities. He added, “Please contact your local senators, representatives and the Governor’s Office, as long as the current language remains in the place to help save charitable gambling.”

Franke said he and ACM also would like to see an extension for implementation of any electronic pulltab changes from last year’s session. He said only four or five of the new etab games have been approved.

Janigo said Legionnaires also need to watch and support House File 4086, authored by Dave Lislegard of Aurora in the Arrowhead region.

This bill expands the definition of “lawful purpose” to allow structures of congressionally chartered veterans organization, such as the Legion and VFW, to use more of their gambling proceeds to repair and maintain their buildings.

“The expenditure is limited to 50 percent of the gross profits from the previous fiscal year, with no carry forward of unused allowances,” it states.

Janigo said this bill will be crucial for saving posts from going under due to rising maintenance costs.

Members of the Allied Charities of Minnesota Board stand together for a photo at the State Capitol on Feb. 26.