While Minnesota lawmakers keep advancing sports betting legislation through House committees, a new survey shows that the legalization of this market has significant support from state residents.
HF 778 would legalize retail and online sports betting for the state’s 11 Native American Tribes. It has already been approved by four committees, most recently Taxes earlier this month, and it is currently being considered in the Minnesota Ways and Means Committee, which could move it to the Minnesota House of Representatives for a hearing and potential vote.
According to the poll results, 72% of male respondents approved of legalized sports betting compared with just 55% of female respondents. Interestingly, political affiliation had little effect on the respondents, as 65% of Republicans surveyed approved of legalized sports betting compared with 67% of Democrats.
“Fewer than one in five Minnesotans are opposed… So that really does suggest there’s a lot of public momentum for sports betting,” said Steven Schier, political analyst at Carleton College.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson, also found support from the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. The 11 Minnesota tribes will have control over the state’s online sports betting. The bill leaves all profits of in-person betting in tribal hands, while tribes would also keep around 5% of the total amount wagered on mobile devices. The bill would create two master mobile licenses to be split between two groups of tribes, allowing them to partner with commercial operators. It will not allow the state’s race tracks to offer sports betting in any capacity.
Moreover, the bill will bring consumer protections to the state and help address problem gaming, with 40% of sports betting tax revenues earmarked for such programs. It’s one of the highest percentages of tax revenues dedicated to problem gaming in the entire country, Stephenson noted. The bill sets the minimum age of participation at 21.