Sports Betting Expert
Industry insiders in the state of Minnesota remain bullish on legal sports betting. Key stakeholders believe that this is a matter of when and not if. However, the path to legalization still has quite a few obstacles in the way.
One driving force is the competitive nature of legal sports betting in the US market. Close to 30 states have gone live with some form of legal gambling on sports. This includes many of Minnesota’s neighbors.
The Diamond Jo Casino and Sportsbook in Iowa is just across the state border. Iowa also offers legal online betting throughout the state with the use of mobile sportsbook apps.
Pat Garofalo is a state representative from Farmington, which is about an hour from Diamond Jo. He has expressed an interest in legalizing both retail and online sports betting in Minnesota. However, the process to move in that direction will take some time.
The first major issue at hand is changing the state’s existing compact with the tribal gaming coalition. Tribal gaming operators in the state hold quite a bit of leverage at this point in time. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) controls most gaming in the state.
The MIGA’s stance can be summed up with the following statement:
“The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association continues to oppose the expansion of off-reservation gambling, including the legalization of sports betting.”
More than a few states had to negotiate new or amended compacts with gaming tribes to add legal sports betting. However, this can be a very time consuming process when those tribes remain opposed to the idea.
Given the continued success of the US legal sports betting industry, interested parties know there is money to be made. Stakeholders in Minnesota are no exception. As more and more states move in this direction, the pressure will build for legal sports betting in this state.
Minnesota is home to four major US professional sports franchises. This alone will lead the push for legal betting on sports. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are all represented with a team in this state. Those teams know there is money to be made through sponsorships and other marketing partnerships.
The betting volume in the rest of the legal US market also paints a rather clear picture. The total legal betting handle in 2018 was $4.5 billion. That was the year states were given the right to govern and regulate sports betting within their borders.
That handle jumped to $13 billion in 2019. The following year it topped out at $21 billion. The industry should experience another major bump in 2021.
The NFL’s Vikings, the NBA’s Timberwolves, the MLB’s Twins and the NHL’s Wild have formed a coalition. This group meets on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual interest. Legal sports betting in Minnesota ranks high on that list.
Two of the largest tribal casinos in the state are Mystic Lake and Treasure Island. They could be persuaded to support a change in the current compact with a substantial share of mobile wagering revenue. This could also garner support from a number of casinos in Minnesota.
The time table for legal sports betting in Minnesota could still be three to five years out. However, the North Star State is moving in that direction.
Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.