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Legalization of Sports Betting in Minnesota – Any Moment Now!

Minnesota’s sportsbook fans are on the edge of excitement as the decision to legalize sports betting in the state is gaining momentum. With the state’s lawmakers making a bipartisan legalization move on Wednesday, there is a growing sense among sports betting enthusiasts in the state that sportsbooks will arrive soon.   

Minnesota sports betting news

The history of sports betting in Minnesota

After the 2018 US supreme court ruling against the illegal congressional ban on in-house and online sports betting, both the Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the state have brought up sports betting bills. However, none of them had any significant positive results, mainly due to the opposition from tribal casinos. Gov. Tim Walz and many legislative DFLers said that without the tribal agreement, the state could not alter the scope of legal gambling.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, sports betting is legalized in 26 states and DCs, while three other states have negotiated to permit gambling in tribal casinos. However, presently Minnesota isn’t among them, mainly due to the tribal opposition. While it isn’t yet a written law, DFLers cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that tribal casinos contribute significantly to the state coffers. And they aren’t yet convinced that they would gain more than lose from sports betting if it’s made available to non-tribal operators too.

The latest effort is led by the Republican Sen. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes in the GOP-controlled Senate. Meanwhile, the Democratic party was represented by Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids, who will be introducing his bill.

The current scenario

“The proposal here is good for the tribes, it’s good for the tracks, and most importantly, it’s good for the consumers,” said Chamberlain on Wednesday at a news conference.

According to the Senate bill led by Chamberlain, mobile betting and offline betting are to be allowed at tribal casinos and the state’s racetracks that will pay a license fee to the state. At the same time, tribes will have authority over mobile licenses and will hold the right to issue sub-licenses to other online sportsbook vendors. However, these sportsbooks should pay taxes to the state for any transaction outside tribal lands. In addition, tax rates are still to be determined, says the lawmakers.

Chamberlain said that the bill language would be ready in a weak, and if Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signs it, the sports betting in the state will go live in fall 2023.

However, Stephenson’s bill will only come after conversations with the University of Minnesota, the state’s professional sports teams, sports gaming companies, and all of Minnesota’s tribes. He says past efforts were in vain due to the opposition from Minnesota Indian Gaming Association that represents the tribal casinos.

Stephenson’s bill especially emphasizes keeping sports betting taxes much lower than in states like New York, where tax on revenue is as high as 51%. Instead, he said income on sports betting would be taxed just enough to support the state’s regulatory model intended to discourage bettors from using offshore online casino and betting websites or underground operations.

He also mentioned that he is expecting a hearing for the bill in the House Commerce Committee in March. As said by Stephenson, “Momentum has been building,” But a decision is yet to be made.

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