A bill that would legalize Minnesota sports betting advanced from a Senate committee Wednesday morning, but its prospects for this year remain a longshot.
The Senate Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans approved S.F. 1949 by an 8-5 vote after discussing the bill sponsored by Sen. Matt Klein, D-Mendota Heights.
But, according to published reports, the bill faces opposition in the full chamber. While Democrats hold a slim majority, not all members are on board, and Republicans are pushing for the bill to include the state’s two racetracks – a move that would cost more Democratic support.
Minnesota Sports Betting To Run Through Tribes
The bill calls for the 11 federally recognized tribal nations within the state to offer sports betting, and each would be able to partner with an online operator.
Klein has said that running sports betting through the tribes is the best way to promote equity for the sovereign nations.
Andy Platto, the executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, told the committee that more than 11 online operators are viable and interested in offering sports betting in the state.
“There is speculation that those platform providers may see some tribal gaming operations as better partners based on their existing operations, but it’s really not true,” Platto said. “It’s a fully competitive market, and for platform providers, any tribe gets them access to the entire state. And that’s a level playing field that all the tribes in MIGA support.”
Get ahead of the bill passing and read about all of the best Minnesota sports betting apps expected to launch when everything goes live.
Another Meeting Set To Hopefully Further Progress On SF 1949
Rather than permitting racetracks to offer sports betting or partner with an operator, S.F. 1949 has been amended to create an economic development fund for the state’s two tracks.
However, the tracks have opposed that measure, arguing that once that fund hits $20 million, the tracks will then only receive up to $3 million a year.
Klein said talks with the tracks continue.
“The tracks have a legitimate concern,” the bill sponsor told the committee. “They are Minnesota destinations, and making sure that they are sustainable is a goal. I’m not ever going to negotiate or put into play tribal exclusivity over licenses. That is a mission of this bill, but there are ways that we can make sure that the tracks feel like they will be sustainable going forward.”
If approved, the state would tax online operator revenues at 10%. Besides funding for the tracks, sports betting taxes would also promote problem gambling awareness and provide athletic activities for at-risk youths in the state.
S.F 1949 is not heading to the Senate floor just yet. It was directed to the Committee on Taxes after Wednesday’s vote. However, it was later referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration, which has a meeting scheduled for Thursday to hear the bill.
The Minnesota Legislature is set to end its 2023 session no later than May 22.
Once sports betting is live, we will have all the best Minnesota sportsbook promos available to you.