Jesse wants to legalize sports bets

Feb 26, 2002 7:47 AM

Sports betting is what Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura had in mind.

All he had to do was to call one of Las Vegas’ casino executives and he would have saved himself a lot of time and the tax payers of Minnesota the financial expense.

Ventura decided that there would be a substantial revenue benefit if the state were to legalize sports betting. Said he, “A bookie’s not going to put down on his tax return that he runs a book. That could land him in jail. Why should they get away without paying taxes? Just imagine if we got 10 to 20 percent of that action.”

So while a number of lawmakers talked about expanding gaming in the state that now permits Indian casinos, Ventura called on his director of gambling enforcement to research sports betting. After all, Ventura said, “It’s my belief that it’s going on anyways, so why not bring it above board and legalize it.”

After “mulling” through three feet of research on sports betting, the state functionary discovered that federal law prohibits Minnesota from competing with Nevada.

Of course, the state could challenge the federal law claiming that’s it a state’s right issue. Wonder what the taxpayers would say about that.