Minnesota Lawmakers Make Another Push to Legalize Sports Betting

Minnesota lawmakers are set to make another push to legalize sports betting in the state after previous attempts, one of which was in November 2021, failed. The push for sports betting is now gaining massive momentum as a bipartisan legalization effort was announced on Wednesday.

The Proposal on Sports Betting Reportedly Benefits All Sides

The effort on legalizing sports betting in Minnesota is led by Republican Sen. Roger Chamberlain in the Senate, whereas Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson is getting ready to introduce his bill in the House.

In a Wednesday news conference, Chamberlain stated that the proposal is good as it benefits the tribes of Minnesota, it is good for the tracks, but most importantly, it benefits consumers. Even though the tax rates are yet to be determined, the bill would allow brick-and-mortar and mobile betting to take place at tribal casinos and the two racetracks in the state.

Tribes will control the process of mobile licensing and will issue sub-licenses to other online operators who will pay a tax to the state for every transaction made outside of tribal properties. Licensing fees to the state will also be paid.

According to Stephenson, the bill has been formed after speaking with the tribes of Minnesota, sports teams, gaming companies, and the University of Minnesota. He is convinced that the momentum is building and states that it is no longer a question of if sports betting will be legalized in Minnesota, it is a question of when and people recognize that.

If Signed, Sports Betting Will Be Live In 2023

Chamberlain stated that the bill language will be done in less than a week and that if Governor Tim Waltz signs it this year, it will go live in Q3 of 2023. On the other hand, Stephenson expects a bill hearing in the House Commerce Committee, where he acts as chair, as soon as March.

Taxes are yet to be determined, but the bill will have a much lower tax on revenue than states such as New York, where sports betting was recently launched and exceeded all expectations. Stephenson claims that the taxes would be just enough to fund the regulatory model of the state, which will be designed to stop people from betting at offshore sites and underground rings.

All proposals need tribal government support, which is stated in Minnesota’s gaming compact. The executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, Andy Platto, stated that all 11 tribal nations have been examining the potential impact of sports betting in the tribal community. He claims that the tribes are gaming experts and are ready to share their expertise with lawmakers.

Sen. Karla Bigham, who supports Chamberlain’s plan, stated that the support of the tribes is the key to the caucus. Some sponsors estimate that the betting tax revenue could exceed $10 million annually.