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Minnesota isn’t just the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” It’s also the land of failed sports betting legislative efforts. But politicians in the state are giving it another go.
Minnesota State Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) said Tuesday he’s planning to introduce the Minnesota Sports Betting Act, noting that the state is the only one in the region that doesn’t offer some form of regulated sports wagering.
Miller plans to introduce the Minnesota Sports Betting Act, which would allow on-site betting by the state’s eleven tribes, two horse racing tracks and at each professional sports team’s arena or stadium. Additionally, each tribe would be permitted up to two mobile licenses, with a requirement that the second license partner with a specific professional team or horse track. The proposal would also allow temporary licenses for major sporting events like the Super Bowl,” according to the Minnesota State Senate.
Miller is correct in that of the four states that border Minnesota — Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin — sports wagering is permitted in each. The fact that Iowa is currently home to a fast-growing, vibrant mobile sports wagering market may be influencing lawmakers.
Minnesota Sports Betting Could Face Uphill Battle
With Democrats controlling both houses of the legislature and the governor’s seat, it’s essential that Miller’s Minnesota Sports Betting Act generate bipartisan support. Previous attempts at bringing sports wagering to the state checked that box and still failed.
“It is time to authorize sports betting here in Minnesota. I believe this proposal, or something similar, can gain the bipartisan support to get something done,” Miller said at a press event.
Still, tribal gaming entities, as they so frequently do in other states, could stand in the way of Miller’s plan because it doesn’t call for tribal exclusivity over sports betting. Minnesota’s tribes balked at previous sports betting legislation that allowed for the state’s pari-mutuel facilities to participate in sports betting. Miller noted his legislation could be a boost for smaller tribes.
“This gives the tribes, especially the smaller tribes that may not have access to as many people, but also the larger tribes — it gives them the ability to partner with a horse racing track or a professional sports team if they want to reach more people with the mobile option,” he said.
In some states, tribal gaming groups insist on sports wagering exclusivity, resisting competition. The result is sports wagering not being allowed at all, as is the case in California, or the industry benefiting no one but tribes and generating scant revenue, as is the case in Washington State.
Minnesota Could Be Appealing Sports Betting Market
For operators, the name of the game is entering as many markets as possible to drive top-line growth. Along those lines, Minnesota is a relatively attractive area. It’s home to 5.64 million residents and teams from all four of the major domestic sports leagues.
Miller’s proposal would divide proceeds from sports wagering in the following ways; “25% for tax relief for charities, 25% for mental health and problem gambling support, 25% for major sporting events, and 25% for grants to support youth sports throughout the state,” according to a statement.
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