Minnesota Representative Unveils New Sports Betting Bill

Legislation in dictionary

30-second summary:

  • Representative Pat Garofalo announces new sports betting bill for Minnesota
  • Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019 will legalize sports betting at casinos operated by recognized tribes in the state
  • Consumers could place wagers in person as well as via mobile or electronic devices on-site
  • Bets would be allowed on all sports and events, including collegiate sports
  • Virtual event wagering would not be permitted

Representative Pat Garofalo has introduced a new sports betting bill has been introduced in Minnesota. The bill will legalize sports betting on-site at gaming venues operated by recognized tribes of the state.

Online betting will also be allowed, but only on the premises of the venue. Garofalo is hoping that the bill will allow the state to remain competitive with nearby states such as Iowa.

Sports betting at tribal casinos

The Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019 will legalize sports betting in the state for tribal gaming venues. A new regulator, the Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission, will be created to oversee the new gambling industry.

Casinos operated by recognized tribes in the state would be permitted to accept in-person wagering. Consumers would also be allowed to place wagers online. However, such betting options would only be made available via mobile and other electronic devices on-site.

The bill places a stipulation on mobile apps that access must be blocked to consumers if they are 20 feet from the facility. Players will be allowed to place wagers on sports and events that are authorized by the Commission. This will include college sports, but virtual events will be banned.

Licensing and tax details

The Sports Wagering Commission will be able to provide two licenses for sports betting – a sports pool license and a mobile and electronic sports pool license. Casinos will have the opportunity to apply for both options. The cost of each license has yet to be revealed.

Casinos will also be allowed to set up partnership agreements with third parties to manage and/or operate on-site sports betting or their mobile/electronic option, or both. The bill creates an excise tax of 0.5% for each wager placed. This is unique and would be the first of its kind in the US regarding sports betting.

MIGA’s concerns

In the past, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) made it very clear it is opposed to any off-reservation gambling. It has yet to make a formal announcement as to its views on the new proposal.

According to VSO News, in January, MIGA’s chair wrote to Governor Tim Walt along with four legislative leaders. The letter stated that the tribes were not interested in sports betting and would oppose any proposal for commercial facilities to be allowed to offer the option in the state.

Garofalo has been speaking with tribal representatives about creating a plan that is agreeable. He has stated that the legislature would advance nothing without the blessing of the tribes.

He said: “These conversations have been going on for close to a year. We’ve addressed the concerns people have brought forward to us. We hope this will be enough to get us across the finish line and begin that process of having these compacts negotiated.”

It is  crucial that the tribes are on board when it comes to progressing any plan involving sports betting.