The state's House tax committee has approved a proposal to expand charitable gambling and allow electronic pull tabs, electronic bingo and sports-themed tip boards.
The measure passed on a voice vote after a contentious three-hour hearing. The bill was originally earmarked to fund a Vikings stadium, but Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, got it approved without a stadium link. He said he worried the stadium controversy could kill the gambling expansion.
"I want to make sure we take care of the charities and the bars, those small businesses across the state. That's the focus. If the Vikings stadium bill gets revived, if there's a shot for it, then I'm cool with this being the funding source," Kriesel said.
"From the start, that was the position on it. But things weren't looking so good today. Things aren't looking good at this minute, so you have to be flexible."
The bill moves next to the House Ways and Means committee. The state Senate late tonight also scheduled a Friday committee meeting on three separate Vikings stadium bills.