Push to Legalize Sports Betting in Minnesota

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Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP

Lawmakers in jurisdictions that have not passed sports betting legislation are looking across state lines and jealously watching their neighbors who have. It’s a brand-new revenue stream and it is why we see one state after another warming to the idea of sports betting. And why not? Unless you are a holy roller over the age of 80, whatever social stigma attached itself to sports betting has long since fallen by the wayside.  

The politicians know this, and if they didn’t, they know it now. As long as they don’t have to worry about any political blowback, it would be foolish not to bring a proven, no-risk, all-reward, taxable service to their local market. Those who don’t want to bet don’t have to, and those millions who do would have the opportunity of making a legal wager on their mobile device. 

Apparently, the winds of fortune that are stirring in so many areas of the country have now blown into The Gopher State. Minnesota wants sports betting and Representative Zack Stephenson (DFL – Coon Rapids), chairperson of the state’s House Commerce Committee, is spearheading the drive. 

The legalization of sports betting will be the most significant change to Minnesota’s gaming laws in many years,” Stephenson said. “The issue is very complex. There are countless different ways that we could structure sports betting. Thirty-two states have legalized sports betting in the United States, and I think it’s fair to say each one of them has taken a different approach.” 

If this is to gain any traction, Stephenson will have to consult with the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) to see where they stand. In other words, how much of a piece of the action will it take to appease them at their retail locations so that Minnesota can introduce online operators and platform providers in all areas outside of the tribal lands so that the state can get its cut?  

Money always talks and it is no different in Minnesota. MIGA has been historically against sports betting but they could also be cozying up to the idea if they believe it will bolster their bottom line. It’s strictly business and it could very well happen sooner than later, particularly after reading what MIGA’s executive director, Andy Platto, had to say on the topic.  

“The tribal governments making up MIGA have been examining the various ways sports betting has been implemented across the country and its impacts on tribal communities. As gaming experts, tribes stand ready to share this expertise with lawmakers considering the future of sports betting in Minnesota,” said Platto.  

And joining his colleague, Zack Stephenson, from across the aisle is state Senator Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) who is also in favor of sports betting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  

“You work hard for your money, and if you want to place a little money in support of your favorite team, you shouldn’t have to drive to Iowa or use an international gambling app to do it. Sports wagering is good entertainment,” Chamberlain said.