Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Gains Momentum

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A Minnesota sports betting bill has been gaining momentum recently, giving proponents of sports betting in the state hope. Minnesota has been a holdout when it comes to the legalization of sports betting in the United States, which has swept the nation since 2018. In 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned PASPA, which allowed for each state to legally open and operate sports betting.

A few days ago, by a vote of 9-6, this sports betting bill, HF 778, was advanced by the Minnesota House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee. The bill now heads to the state’s Taxes Committee. The view is optimistic for the bill as it has already passed through three committees in the Minnesota state government.

However, it has not been smooth sailing to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. Multiple groups in the state have opposed legalizing sports betting. A major concern from these groups is the potential impact the legalization of sports betting would have on children in the state. These groups, Stop Predatory Gambling and Neighborhood Youth Academy, have impacted the proposed sports betting legislation in the state.

HF 778 is sponsored by Minnesota state Representative Zack Stephenson. Rep. Stephenson has stated his commitment to raising the eligible sports betting age in the state from 18-years-old to 21-years-old as a reaction to the opposition. Representative Stephenson has also indicated that he hopes to keep a low tax rate on sports betting in the state in a bid to encourage competition.

The Executive Director of the Electronic Gaming Group, Sam Krueger, brought up the need for protections for the charitable gaming sector in the state, which is a nearly $3 billion industry. It includes things like raffles, bingo, as well as electronic pull tabs, through the non-profit sector. Krueger indicated his belief that the industry needs to be included and considered in the Minnesota sports betting discussions.

HF 778 would legalize sports betting in the state through the Indigenous tribes in Minnesota. The bill would allow for up to eleven mobile licenses for sports betting in the state. 

As a result, the bill has the support of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. The group’s executive director, Andy Platto, even testified to support HF 778. This is a turnaround from previous years when the Indigenous tribes in the state were opposed to the expansion of sports betting in the state.

At the same time that HF 778 is moving forward, a group of state senators in Minnesota are also working on their own effort for sports betting legislation in the state. They announced their intentions back in February but have not presented a bill as of this time. But, any bill from the state Senate would be pretty far behind where HF 778 has progressed. 

The proposal from the state Senate is likely to include considerations for the professional sports teams in the state as well as its racetracks. Because of this, any Senate backed bill may face opposition from the state’s Indigenous tribes. Meanwhile, at this time, Minnesota’s Indigenous tribes are in favor of the expansion and of HF 778 and hope to be included in discussions surrounding the bill as it progresses.

The bill faces an uncertain future despite the support it has been able to garner. However, until sports betting is legalized in the state, Minnesota will continue to lose tax revenue to neighboring states with legal sports betting like Wisconsin and North Dakota. At this time, thirty states as well as Washington D.C. have approved some sort of legal sports betting operation.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.