Minnesota Lawmakers Change Stance on In-Game Betting

The Senate Commerce Committee has adopted an amendment to the Minnesota sports betting bill, presenting a significant setback for lobbyists advocating for the sportsbook industry and the state’s tribal governments. The proposed amendment, put forward by Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, aims to restrict big national sportsbooks from accepting in-game prop bets.

These types of bets occur within a game, such as predicting which team will score first or how long a singer will take to perform the National Anthem at events like the Super Bowl. Sen. Rasmusson argued that in-game betting poses a risk for problem gamblers, leading to behaviors like “loss chasing” where individuals bet more to recover from earlier losses. He emphasized the potential dangers of in-game betting, stating that it can transform a single sporting event into hundreds of betting opportunities.

The amendment, which also included provisions requiring bettors to set self-betting limits before placing wagers and imposing waiting periods for any increases in these limits, received support from the chief sponsor of Senate File 1949, Sen. Matt Klein. He asserted that these changes would make Minnesota’s sports betting system the safest in the United States.

However, industry lobbyists expressed concerns about the potential impact of the amendment. They warned that banning in-game betting, also known as whistle-to-whistle betting, could significantly reduce betting activity in the state, with estimates suggesting that such bets account for over 50% of sports wagers made in the US market.

Sports Betting Alliance Bats for In-Game Bets

Jeremy Kudon, president of the Sports Betting Alliance, representing major players like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Fanatics, argued that the amendment would inadvertently benefit illegal sportsbooks operating online, potentially reducing expected tax revenue and undermining efforts to combat problem gambling.

The proposed changes also raised concerns among tribal gaming associations. Andy Platto, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, acknowledged these concerns but urged the bill’s progression to the Senate Judiciary Committee to facilitate ongoing discussions.

The debate over in-game betting represents a broader conflict within the sports betting industry, reflecting diverse perspectives on its potential impact. While advocates for the amendment highlight concerns about problem gambling and addiction, industry stakeholders argue that such restrictions could hinder profitability and drive bettors to illegal platforms.

In addition to the amendment addressing in-game betting, Sen. Rasmusson proposed another amendment that did not make it through the House floor. This amendment sought to prohibit sportsbooks from offering gambling on college sports, a move aimed at addressing concerns about the integrity of college athletics.

The fate of the sports betting bill in Minnesota remains uncertain, with diverging viewpoints complicating efforts to reach a consensus. Sen. John Marty, a vocal opponent of gambling expansion, emphasized concerns about the predatory nature of the industry and its potential negative impact on vulnerable populations.

While the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Zack Stephenson, expressed optimism about its prospects, noting its prior passage in the state House, challenges persist in securing sufficient support in the Senate. The bill’s provisions grant tribal nations exclusive control over sports betting, with revenue generated from bets placed in tribal casinos allocated to various causes, including youth sports promotion and problem gambling treatment.

Despite ongoing debates and amendments, the core elements of the bill remain intact, reflecting the complex dynamics surrounding the legalization of sports betting in Minnesota. As stakeholders continue to navigate these challenges, the outcome of the bill remains uncertain, with implications for the future of sports betting regulation in the state.

Terms of Minnesota’s Sports Betting Bill

Senator Jeremy Miller unveiled the ‘Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0’ on Jan. 17, 2024. It was scheduled for introduction during the forthcoming legislative session. Senator Miller initially believed the bill presented a comprehensive framework for the state’s sports betting landscape.

In its original language, it included licensing provisions extending to Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations, granting them the opportunity to operate both retail and online sports betting platforms. Additionally, the bill encompasses provisions for legal wagering at state horse racing tracks and professional sports stadiums, signaling a potential expansion of the state’s gambling offerings.

The recent development regarding the change in perspective on prop bets may cause the bill to fall flat before it even makes it to the house floor. As things currently stand, the bill is likely to attain the support of the majority of the state’s lawmakers.


About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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