A long way to go
Lawmakers in the Minnesota House have introduced legislation that would legalize sports betting in the state. The proposal unveiled on Monday would allow statewide online sports betting, as well as retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos. Two Republicans and two Democrats have worked together on the proposal.
Representative Zach Stephenson, the bill’s author, is holding a hearing on Tuesday in the House’s Commerce Finance and Policy Committee, which he chairs. The bill would ultimately need to get approval from at least six House committees, plus the Senate.
allow tribes to partner with commercial operators to launch online sportsbooks
Stephenson believes that the state needs to create a sports betting model that is specific to Minnesota, rather than copy a system that is in place elsewhere. The bill would allow tribes to partner with commercial operators to launch online sportsbooks. There would be no in-person sports betting permitted at sports stadiums or racetracks.
Conservative tribal support
The proposal includes a 10% tax on online sportsbooks profits, but none on retail sportsbooks. While there was no official estimate of potential tax revenue, Representative Pat Garofalo believes that a fair guess is about $20m per year. Most of the tax revenue would go to helping fund problem gambling programs and youth sports.
Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is open to the proposal
The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is open to the proposal, but did not fully endorse it. A statement from the organization that represents ten tribal nations stated that “tribes are best positioned to offer this new market to the state’s consumers.”
In creating this bill, lawmakers consulted with tribal nations, problem gambling experts, professional sports teams, and other stakeholders.
Senators making their own push
Minnesota Senators have introduced their own sports betting bill. It has many similarities to the House’s bill, but it would also allow in-person betting at the two racetracks in the state.
Senator Roger Chamberlain led the proposal and while he believes that a sports betting bill will get passage this year, he is unsure about the new House bill. He said: “The (House) offer in its current form will not give the consumer a good product. We need to expand the options for consumers to have the best possible experience.”
Minnesota is the sole upper Midwest state to not yet make sports betting legal
Minnesota is the sole upper Midwest state to not yet make sports betting legal. Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and North Dakota all have legal sports betting. Governor Tim Walz has committed to signing a sports betting bill into law if it gets approval in the legislature.