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New Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Faces Early Opposition: Will There Be Good News for Vikings Fans?

Jessica Aletor
Written by Jessica Aletor
January 29, 2024
New Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Faces Early Opposition

Minnesota sports betting fans get a glimmer of hope as a revised sports betting bill has been prepared to be put before the House. State Senator Jeremy Miller presented the bill as the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, and he is determined to see it go through all the processes to become law.

For years, lawmakers have been trying to legalize sports betting in the North Star State. In 2022 and 2023, multiple attempts to legalize betting in the state failed for various reasons. Senator Miller claims his revised bill includes additions from previous failed bills and feedback from legislators.

The State is under some pressure to legalize sports betting because other states that have developed their own sports betting laws are already reaping the benefits in the tax profit it brings. Minnesota's border states and Canada have developed a legal framework for sports betting, so aside from offshore betting options, the state is losing punters to neighboring states.

Senator Miller’s bill will be presented to the House on February 12, and if things go according to plan, he might have created the solution to legalizing sports betting in Minnesota.

What’s in the New Minnesota Sports Betting Bill?

Since so many sports betting bills have failed to pass the House of Representatives and Senate, the new bill identifies the differences that caused other bills to fail and attempts to find a compromise for all parties.

If the new bill is passed, Minnesota will tax licensed bookmakers 15% of their profit. The tax rate is not an issue for anyone because it is consistent with the national average. Senator Miller claims that the state has been missing out on the $100 billion industry, and this is its opportunity to get its share of the cake.

The tax revenue will be used to attract more sporting activities, fund youth athletic education and local charities, and provide problem gambling resources. The bill also provides that some of the revenue from sports betting will be paid to the racetracks to improve horse racing.

Another key provision of the bill is that only the 11 tribal nations in Minnesota will be allowed to hold sports betting licenses. The tribes can partner with the racetracks and stadiums to operate retail sports betting on their premises.

The 2023 Tax Bill passed in Minnesota removed charitable gaming options like free plays and bonus games from electronic pull-tab games. However, the revised sports betting bill cancels this exclusion introduced by the Tax Act.

Early Reactions to the Revised Sports Betting Bill In MN

The bone of contention between lawmakers is not on legalizing sports betting itself but on sharing the rights to acquire a sports betting license. In 2022, the House’s version of the bill gave the Native American tribes sole control of sports betting licenses, but the Senate Committee included the racetracks in its version.

Senator Miller’s bill attempts to reconcile these differences to please both sides. The bill gives the tribes sole access to sports betting licenses, but it mandates that a portion of the tax gotten from the bookmakers goes to the racetracks.

The conflict in the legislative chambers is far from over because the racetracks are not satisfied with the compromise in the new bill. Instead of receiving small payments from the sports betting tax revenue, the tracks believe that they are entitled to sports betting licenses, just as the tribes are. Jeff Maday, Canterbury Park’s spokesperson, said, “The market is mature enough for all of us to succeed. We just want that opportunity.”

Senator Miller believes that the racetracks’ proposition will not have sufficient votes to pass through both houses, which is why it is not included in the bill. It is clear that before sports betting can be legalized in Minnesota, both sides must make concessions for each other.

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