Amended Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Advances to Senate Finance Committee

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A view of the Hennepin County Government center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP

So, you’re saying there’s a chance, huh? An amended version of the Minnesota sports betting bill is still alive. 

The Senate Tax Committee pushed it through with some changes. A couple of them, you might say, are major and could impact the online sportsbooks industry.

In-Game Wagering Is Out

One of the biggest changes to the bill was the elimination of in-game wagering. This means that, if Minnesota legalizes sports betting, all bets will have to be placed before the game. Bettors won’t have the luxury of placing bets during a game.

“You can’t sort of bet in the first quarter and then bet again in the third quarter on the same game,” Senator Matt Klein told KSTP News. “You have to have all your wagers lined up before the whistle blows and you’re done for that game.”

Supporters of the change say these bets fuel problem gambling and the provision works as a safeguard. In addition, another amendment, that will allow gamblers to set “self-imposed” limits on how much they can bet in a day, was also added.

Tax Rate Increased Significantly

The aforementioned amendments caused sports betting revenue projections to drop from an estimated $40 million annually to $18 million. So, to make up the difference, the committee also made some changes to the tax rates and how the money would be used. 

Now, the tax rate on the money made from sports betting would be 20% instead of 10%. And the money earned would be divided like this:

  • 20% would go towards reducing taxes for charitable gaming organizations.
  • 10% would be used for programs that help people with gambling problems.
  • 15% would support large sporting events promoted by Explore Minnesota Tourism.
  • 5% would be given to the Minnesota Racing Commission to support racetracks.
  • 5% would be allocated to the Minnesota State High School League for youth sports and activities.

The rest of the money would go into the state’s general fund.

“As a result of this work, we are now able to support our allied charities who engage in gaming so they can continue the good work they do for our state,” Senator Klein said. “We are also able to invest in the state high school league’s ability to foster participation in a wider array of activities, attract more large sporting events to Minnesota, and continue to focus efforts on problem wagering awareness.”

What’s Next for Minnesota’s Sports Betting Bill?

The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for review. 

Andy Platto, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) has already stated that the tribes in the state support efforts to authorize sports wagering both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms. Minnesota’s new proposal also includes online betting. Platto says tribes are best positioned to provide this new offering to the state’s consumers. 

Someone else who won’t stand in the way is Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. He has already indicated that he would sign sports wagering legislation if it made it to his desk. 

Minnesota stands out as one of the few places in the country where sports betting is still not allowed.