Minnesota Sports Betting Act Balances Interests Among Sports Teams, Horse Racing, Tribes

State Senator Jeremy Miller recently announced his intention to introduce the Minnesota Sports Betting Act to legalize retail and online sports betting in the state. Sen. Miller told Gaming Today that his proposed bill will attempt to “strike a balance between stakeholders” to allow Minnesotans to gamble legally.

No Tribal Exclusivity

Unlike HF 776, which passed the Minnesota House last year but failed in the Senate, the Minnesota Sports Betting Act does not provide local tribes with exclusive rights to sports gambling. While some believe that tribal exclusivity is a necessity for any successful Minnesota gambling bill, Sen. Miller feels otherwise.

The Senator believes bills relying on tribal exclusivity do not have enough votes to pass the legislature. Rather, he argues that a bipartisan bill is needed that can appease all three major stakeholders: sports teams, horse racing venues, and local tribes.

Local Tribes Still Major Player

Although local tribes are not granted exclusive control under the Minnesota Sports Betting Act, they still hold significant power. This is because Sen. Miller’s bill establishes that in-state mobile gambling would be allowed only through local tribes or their partnerships. Those partnerships could include local horse racing tracks and sports teams.

Meanwhile, racing venues and sports teams would retain the right to provide on-site sports gambling for their patrons.

The proposed bill also allows for temporary in-person sports betting licenses for major sporting events that come to Minnesota. These include the Super Bowl, the Final Four, PGA Tour events, the Big 10 Championship, and WWE events.

Minnesota sports betting
A new sports betting bill in Minnesota seeks to benefit the Vikings and the state’s other pro sports teams (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Sports betting tax revenues would be earmarked for four main areas; 25% to provide tax relief for charitable gambling, 25% for grants to youth sports, 25% for mental health and problem gambling support, and 25% to help bring major sporting events to Minnesota.

Future Outlook

Sen. Miller says he’s seen a lot of interest in the Minnesota Sports Betting Act. He is hopeful that his bill will receive bipartisan support, unlike last year’s tribal exclusive bill.

While the Minnesota Sports Betting Act was announced Wednesday, it is still in the drafting stage. Sen. Miller said that he hopes to formally introduce the bill in the legislature next week.

About the Author
Adam Carter

Adam Carter

Legislative Writer
Adam Carter is a legislative writer at Gaming Today and has been published since 2017. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in English from Indiana University, and a Juris Doctor from Notre Dame Law. Carter also writes for Great.com and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he practices as an attorney and bemoans the local sports teams. His writing is also available in places such as Florida English Journal, The Rumpus, and Penumbra.

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