Rep. Zack Stephenson, who chairs the House Commerce Committee, announced on Thursday that he will lead another push next session to legalize sports betting, stating that Minnesotans should be able to engage in safe and legal sports betting the same way people can in other states.
"Minnesota shouldn't be an island, one of an ever-shrinking number of states that don't allow sports betting," Stephenson said, as reported by MPR News.
“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.”
We should legalize sports betting in Minnesota. All our neighbors have already done so. Minnesota should not be an island. We can get this done in the next regular session of the Legislature, and we should get it done. pic.twitter.com/QyK4sGnQAQ— Zack Stephenson (@zackstephenson) November 4, 2021
However, even with bipartisan support, any deal would likely need the backing of Minnesota's Native American tribal casinos to pass the Legislature, which have opposed previous sports betting bills, however, Stephenson said its stance may be changing.
“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,” said the association’s executive director, Andy Platto, in a statement. “As gaming experts, tribes stand ready to share this expertise with lawmakers considering the future of sports betting in Minnesota.”
The state Senate has also been resistant in the past to legalized sports betting. But Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said he plans to introduce legislation again next session.
“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.