Minnesota To Reintroduce Sports Betting Bill This Week

Two Minnesota lawmakers announced on Tuesday plans to reintroduce a new bill that would legalize sports betting in the Gopher State.

Democratic Sen. Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove and Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington, sponsored the bill with the hopes that their luck will change this time after failing to gain support in previous years.

Said Bingham:

It’s already done flagrantly and it’s time shine some light on it, put some guardrails around it, protections around it, and quite honestly we need to legalize it. If that state makes a few bucks while we’re at it, good for us.”

Details of the New Bill

The proposed legislation would allow on-site legal sports betting at tribal casinos for the first year, then mobile betting for those who sign-up for an account a casino. On-site sports betting will be taxed at 6% while mobile sports gambling will be subject to an 8% tax. 99.5% of revenues would go to the state’s general fund while 0.5% will benefit compulsive gambling assistance programs.

A gambling commission will be set up and members will include representatives from tribal casinos and racetrack operators. According to the proponents of the bill, legalizing sports betting in Minnesota will not only help the state close its $1.3B budget deficit but it will also protect Minnesotans who gamble anyway using offshore websites or illegal betting sites.

Tribes Oppose Sports Betting

Currently, the only form of gambling for Minnesotans are the state lottery and casinos. In February 2019, Gov. Walz indicated his support for the legal Minnesota sports betting, depending on the details. Walz wanted to see Minnesota sports betting done through existing tribal gambling entities that are already have existing contract with the state for legal casino games.

But the tribes that own and manage the casinos across the state have been the vocal opponents of legal Minnesota sports betting and off reservation gambling in general. These tribes, which own 21 Minnesota casinos, argue that allowing sports betting on mobile devices would invite wider online casino gambling that would threaten brick and mortar casinos.