Multiple Sports Betting Bills Now on the Table in Minnesota

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A view outside the Minnesota State Capitol building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP.

The first day of the legislative session in Minnesota looked like a sportsbook with bettors running up to the window to get their last-minute wagers in. Only this time, the bettors are lawmakers, and the bets are bills that could legalize sports betting in The North Star State.

Let’s delve into the latest initiatives and uncover what the future might hold for top-rated online sportsbooks.

Rolling the Dice

One of the proposals to make sports betting legal in Minnesota has changed since last year. However, it still faces a big challenge.

The proposal by Sen. Jeremy Miller, called the “Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0”, would let people bet on sports in person at horse racing tracks and pro sports venues. However, this might not be acceptable to the 11 Native American tribes in Minnesota, who are the only ones allowed to run gambling businesses in the state.

They have always opposed letting other places offer gambling.

Senator Miller’s proposed legislation suggests implementing a 15% state tax, which would translate to approximately $60 million in additional tax revenue for the state.

Miller told KARE News “I’m feeling pretty optimistic,” Miller said. “Minnesotans are already betting on sports. They’re just doing it in other states or they’re doing it illegally, so now is the time to get it done so we can regulate the market as well as help generate some sales tax revenue.”

Miller’s bill includes typical advertising regulations commonly seen in similar legislation. These regulations state that:

  • Advertising aimed at minors or individuals on gambling exclusion lists is prohibited.
  • The use of the phrase “risk-free” is forbidden.
  • The prominent display of a problem gambling hotline number in all advertisements is mandatory.

Second Sports Betting Bill Maintains Tribal Monopoly

Another bill similar to Miller’s bill, which was introduced by Rep. Zach Stephenson last year, is also being considered.

This bill would let only the tribes offer sports betting and is being reviewed by a House committee. Miller’s bill, which would allow sports betting at racetracks and sports venues, is being reviewed by a Senate committee.

Sports Betting Getting Support in Minnesota

Minnesota Governor, Tim Walz, thinks that this might finally be the year when the state’s lawmakers collaborate to find a solution for maximizing the benefits of what has now grown into a $100 billion industry.

Walz said, “I would guess they’ll probably get close to getting something done.” He also confirmed publicly that he would approve the legalization of sports betting if lawmakers can agree on a bill during the 2024 session.

Also on board is the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA). Executive Director, Andy Platto, said in a statement, “The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association supports state efforts to authorize sports wagering both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms. Tribes are best positioned to provide this new offering to the state’s consumers. MIGA and its members will be closely following the progress of state legislation and look forward to working with other stakeholders to develop an approach that benefits Minnesotans while protecting the Indian gaming operations that tribal and rural communities rely on for jobs and economic health.”

What’s Next for the Sports Betting Bill Battle in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s legislative session runs until May 20.

However, there are specific deadlines for bills depending on where they originate. Bills from non-fiscal committees need to pass by March 22, while those from fiscal committees have until April 19 to pass.