Sports Betting Coming to Minnesota?
The United States legal sports betting industry continues to grow, and it looks like the state of Minnesota could be ready to join the party. A bill that would allow for statewide mobile wagering in Minnesota has been introduced and it has already made it out of two committees.
Rep. Zack Stephenson is the sponsor of HF 778 and that bill just recently received a positive vote of 9-6 to move it out of the House Judiciary, Finance and Civil Law Committee. HF 778 will now head to the Taxes Committee where it will once again be reviewed before going before a vote.
A bill was expected to be introduced in the Senate as well, but that has not been the case up to this point. Having two bills on the table could create some additional discussion and debate, but both bills are expected to be similar.
The bill introduced by Stephenson sets the legal gambling age at just 18 years of age, and it gives control to the Native American tribes in the state. If nothing is changed when this bill becomes a law then there could be more than 10 online sports betting licenses available.
Minnesota is now surrounded by states with legal sports betting options, and that has put pressure on lawmakers to get something done. Stephenson has argued that Minnesota residents are already wagering on sports and that the state is losing revenue because of this.
Tribes Finally On Board
Recent attempts to legalize sports betting in Minnesota have ended quickly as Native American tribes have opposed these bills. The tribes in Minnesota play a key role in the entire gambling scene, and not including them kept any bills from advancing.
That is not the case with the current bill and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is in full support of this legislation. With the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association on board, more lawmakers are likely to join in support as well.
All of the tribal casinos in Minnesota would be able to offer retail sports betting, and they could also partner with an online sportsbook to offer mobile betting. Tax revenue would still go to the state, but these tribes would see a new revenue source if sports betting was offered.
Opposition Can Be Heard
The process to legalizing sports betting in Minnesota is not likely to be smooth, and there are already plenty of opponents that are popping up. The Electronic Gaming Group has already been outspoken as that group is concerned about the amount of power that the Native American tribes will have under this bill.
Two other groups, Neighborhood Youth Academy and Stop Predatory Gambling have both testified in committee as well, and they are concerned about the legal age that is in the bill. That legal gambling age is expected to change over time and will likely set a requirement at 21 years of age.
Check out our articles about Missouri on a similar path to legalized sports betting.