Published: February 15, 2024

Minnesota Legislature Will Try For Legal Sports Betting Again

Tribes aren't on board with a bill that would allow in-person betting at racetracks and pro sports venues

Lawmakers are taking another shot at legalizing retail and online sports betting in Minnesota, and multiple bills have been filed or assigned to committee since the state legislative session opened on Monday.

While at least one of the bills has been updated since last year’s failed attempt to legalize, it appears that a key hurdle remains, with Sen. Jeremy Miller’s “Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0” allowing for in-person betting at horse racetracks and professional sports venues. Minnesota’s 11 tribes have long had a monopoly on gambling in the state, and including the tracks or other commercial entities has traditionally been a non-starter.

In addition to Miller’s bill, HF 2000, a version of which Rep. Zach Stephenson shepherded through the House in 2022, will also be in play. That bill maintains the tribal monopoly and has been assigned to the House Human Services Finance Committee. Miller’s bill, SF 3803, was assigned Thursday to the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.

Minnesota’s legislative session is scheduled to run through May 20, and while there is no crossover deadline, bills originating in non-fiscal committees must pass by March 22, while bills from fiscal committees must pass by April 19.

Minnesota’s tribes have already taken a wait-and-see posture. To this end, Andy Platto, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, released the following statement, according to KARE-11:

“The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) supports state efforts to authorize sports wagering both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms. 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.”

Tax rate would be 15%

Historically, MIGA has supported Stephenson’s legislation and withdrawn support when the Senate has amended the proposal to include racetracks.

Miller’s bill would tax digital sports betting at 15% of adjusted gross revenue and allows for up to 11 operator licenses for online sports betting and up to 11 platform provider licenses. Each tribe would be allowed to have one skin, or digital partner.

In addition, tribal casinos would be allowed to have brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but the bill also allows for in-person wagering “on the physical premises of a racetrack or sports facility” or a qualified property located within half a mile of the track or sports venue.

“My preference would be to give the tribes a license, as well as the tracks, the [professional] teams, and even the charities,” Miller told KARE. “The reality is, the votes aren’t there in the legislature right now to make that happen, so instead of focusing or complaining on what’s not possible, with the 2.0 proposal I really wanted to focus on what is possible.”

Miller’s bill also includes what has become fairly standard advertising language, banning any advertising that targets minors or those on gambling exclusion lists and the use of the phrase “risk-free.” It would require that a problem gambling hotline number be prominently displayed in all advertising.

Furthermore, the legislation specifically addresses the relationship between sportsbooks and college students. NIL partnerships between college athletes and sportsbooks would be prohibited, and advertising online sports betting on college campuses would be illegal.

The bill also bans the use of push notifications from operators when a betting app is not being used.,legislative%20session%20opened%20on%20Monday.

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