Minnesota Sports Gambling Effort Runs Out of Time in 2024 Legislative Session

Sports gambling in Minnesota will have to wait another year. Stakeholders and lawmakers neared an agreement, but HF 5274 didn’t reach the floor for a vote ahead of an 11:59 p.m. deadline on Sunday, May 19.

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned the following day, so Minnesota sports betting is on hold until the 2025 legislative session.

Sports betting advocates, including state Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), scrambled to get a bill passed in the final week of the session. House File 5274 set guidelines to legalize Minnesota sports betting and banned Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines at the state’s two horseracing tracks.

Only the HHR ban moves on to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk. The House and Senate blocked a Minnesota Racing Commission effort to add the machines at Running Aces in Columbus and Canterbury Park in Shakopee. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association opposed HHR betting because gameplay closely resembles the slot machines found at Minnesota’s 19 tribal casinos.

Supporters Miss Sports Betting Deadline

Conflicting stakeholders prevented the Minnesota Legislature from passing a sports betting bill in 2024:

  • Stephenson introduced HF 2000 earlier in the session.
  • He attached HHR blocking language to create HF 5274.
  • On Wednesday, May 15, House members spent a full working day to fast-track the bill.
  • Stephenson remained hopeful as the Minnesota House continued working on the legislation Saturday night, May 19.

State Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) posted support for the Minnesota sports gambling bill on Saturday morning. He recorded an update for social media as he began the session’s final day.

“Today is the last opportunity the legislature has to pass a bipartisan sports betting bill. We have a proposal that would benefit local charities. It would benefit the horseracing tracks, it would benefit the tribes, youth sports, (and) problem gambling services.”

If approved, HF 5274 would have taxed sports betting revenue at 20%. Minnesota’s 11 tribes would have applied for licenses to add it as a legal sports betting state.

What’s Next for Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota?

Saturday night’s near-miss drew optimism from Stephenson, but the coalitions for and against sports betting will shift again with the Nov. 5 General Election. All 134 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives will be on the fall ballot. Minnesota State Senate terms don’t expire until 2026.

Walz signaled a willingness to sign a sports betting bill in February. The governor’s term expires in 2026.

“It seems to me that this is probably the year to talk about that in a non-budget year,” he told reporters a day after the Super Bowl.

Sports betting is legal in 38 states and is a popular option in Iowa. Once bettors cross the state line, they can use online betting apps.

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About the Author
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell

Lead Writer
Russ Mitchell joined Gaming Today as a lead writer in February 2023 after joining Catena Media in 2021 as a managing editor for the PlayIA and PlayVA brands. He covers sports betting industry news market developments, the college sports betting industry, and the four major North American pro sports leagues. With 25+ years of journalism experience to Gaming Today. He is a five-time winner of the Iowa’s prestigious Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting award, a two-time National Newspaper Association award winner and a 50-time Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.

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