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Minnesota Sports Betting Bill May Pass House at Buzzer: Get the Latest Info Here!

Jessica Aletor
Written by Jessica Aletor
May 15, 2024
Minnesota Sports Betting Bill May Pass House at Buzzer

The North Star State has allowed multiple forms of gambling to be legal since the 1980s. However, even with other activities like the lotto, casinos, and horse racing bets being active, the state has yet to legalize sports betting.

For many years now, multiple attempts have been made to legalize sports betting in the state, but they always fail to make it to completion. However, just like it happened in other states where betting was eventually legalized, these parties are not giving up.

Legislators have brought the matter before the House again in 2024, and this might be the time they get it right. If everything goes well, the bill can pass through the Minnesota House before it concludes the ongoing legislative session on May 20.

HF 2000 Sports Betting Bill

In 2023, multiple bills were presented to the House to legalize and regulate sports betting in Minnesota. Rep. Zach Stephenson put forward one of those 2023 bills that never passed the House. In the 2024 legislative session, he reintroduced the bill to the House with a better shot at success than last year.

Rep Stephenson has been championing the DFL’s interests in the sports betting bill for several consecutive sessions. This year, the DFL controls both legislative chambers, but getting the bill passed is still a hassle because of internal opposition within the party.

If the bill is passed into law, it will give the 11 Minnesota tribes exclusive access to licenses to provide sports betting services in Minnesota. As the bill passes through committees and debates, it keeps getting amended, so it is still not in its final form. For instance, in 2023, it was amended to allocate 30% of the revenue from sports betting activities to the horse racing tracks.

Rep. Zach Stevenson recently added some of the provisions in HF 2000 to HF 5274, the Historical Horse Racing Prohibition Bill. Passing the sports betting provisions into this bill has made it easier for the DFL to see their dreams of Minnesota sports betting become reality.

Disagreements Between Tribes and Tracks Slowing Down Progress

A lot of the blocks on the road to legalizing Minnesota Sports betting always come from interested parties lobbying for or against some specific provisions of the bill. Allowing regulated sports betting in the North Star State is sure to rake in massive revenue, and everyone wants a piece of this pie.

Presently, in Minnesota, the law states the gambling activities that the tribes can offer with their casinos and also limits the services that can be offered on the tracks. The sports betting law will also outline who can get a license to offer sports betting services.

Rep Stephenson’s bill gives all the licenses to the Tribes but promises the Tracks a small portion of the revenue from sports betting. Even with the revenue-sharing offer, the tracks would like to get licenses to offer sports betting activities independent of the tribes.

Beyond this, it has been difficult to get the tracks and the tribes on the same page because of their differences on many issues. For instance, the Racing Commission recently approved the use of 500 Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines at the tracks. The tribes believe that the games’ similarity to slot machines places them outside the scope of the gambling services that the tracks are legally allowed to provide.

In response to the Racing Commission approving historical horse racing, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community took the matter to court. Running Aces Racetrack has also sued three tribal casinos for offering games outside the state-tribes compact. The CEO of Running Races, Taro Ito has said that they are ready to drop the lawsuits against the tribes and accept the HHR prohibition if they are given a fair revenue share from sports betting.

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