In a new push after a string of several failures, Minnesota lawmakers are once again attempting to legalize sports betting in the North Star State. Senator Jeremy Miller announced Tuesday plans to introduce the Minnesota Sports Betting Act, arguing the state is the only one in the region that does not have this gaming option, forcing residents to cross state borders or resort to illegal workarounds.
“It’s time to authorize sports betting in Minnesota. As other states move to authorize sports betting, Minnesota is falling behind. We are the only state in the region where it remains fully illegal to bet on sports,” Miller pointed out.
“The Minnesota Sports Betting Act is a fair and responsible proposal to authorize sports betting,” he stated, and added it is “good” for the tribes, for the horse racing tracks, for the professional sports teams, “and most importantly, it’s good for the folks who would like to bet on sports here in Minnesota."
The bill would allow Minnesota’s 11 Indigenous tribes to provide sports betting on-site in casinos, and would offer the same to the state’s two horse racing tracks, which is something that the Indian Gaming Commission opposed in previous bills pertaining to legal sports gambling.
The tribes would also have the option to receive one partnership mobile license, allowing them to partner with a Minnesota professional sports team or a horse racing track to conduct mobile sports betting. The tribes could utilize the primary mobile license, the partnership mobile license, or both.
In previous attempts to legalize sports gambling, opponents argued that the state’s poorer residents were at higher risk for developing gambling addictions. Miller’s bill would devote 25% of the revenue from sports betting toward mental health and problem gambling support. The other three-quarters would go toward tax relief for charities, major sporting events, and grants to support youth sports throughout the state.
In a statement released by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, it was noted that the nine-member tribal nations which compose it support state efforts to authorize sports wagering both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms. However, the tribes, which traditionally only support gambling on reservations, did not comment on the bill.
“Tribes are best positioned to provide this new offering to the state’s consumers. MIGA and its members will be closely following the progress of state legislation and look forward to working with other stakeholders to develop an approach that benefits Minnesotans while protecting the Indian gaming operations that tribal and rural communities rely on for jobs and economic health,” the statement said.
The bill would also offer on-site betting to Minnesota sports teams and temporary licenses to big sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Final Four, Big Ten Championships, PGA events, and more.