Lawmakers in Minnesota are considering legislation to join the more than 30 other states with some form of sports betting, according to a report from the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The efforts are being led by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids). During a hearing on the issue, he said, “Minnesotans deserve the same opportunity that all of our neighbors have to bet in a legal, safe marketplace with consumer protections.”
In the region, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota all have sports betting. Proponents say Minnesota is falling behind.
In 2022, sports betting states saw a combined handle of $93.2 billion and sportsbook revenue of $7.5 billion, according to figures from the American Gaming Association. This growth was partly fueled by Kansas, which operationalized retail and mobile sports wagering, and the launch of mobile sports betting in Louisiana, Maryland, and New York.
The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee approved the Stephenson-sponsored HF2000 on a party-line vote Monday and sent it to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee.
A similar bill sponsored by Stephenson passed the House last year but did not progress in the Senate.
The bill would grant sports betting licenses to the 11 tribal nations in Minnesota. Wagers would be allowed at brick-and-mortar locations on tribal lands or using mobile apps licensed to tribal entities.
Andy Plato, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, testified before the House’s commerce panel to support the bill.
Under the proposed legislation, any wager placed on tribal land would not be subject to state taxation, but net revenue from online and mobile betting would be taxed at 10%.
The bill would prohibit betting on horse races, which would jeopardize the profitability of the two horse racing tracks in the state, said Tracie Wilson, CEO of Running Aces Casino and Racetrack.
“If our race track is excluded from sports betting expansion, this will endanger the future of our over $500 million racing industry in Minnesota. We are asking today for parity and basic fairness,” she said.