Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but when it comes to sports betting, the state is on an island. One lawmaker believes he has a way to resolve that.
State Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, unveiled his new bill, dubbed the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, last week. In a release, he said the measure updates a bill he filed in the 2023 session.
“It also includes ideas brought forward by constituents and stakeholders,” Miller said. “The goal of this proposal is to bring folks together to work toward a bipartisan solution to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. I strongly believe we can get it done this year.”
What would likely bring Republicans and Democrats together in St. Paul is an agreement between the state’s tribal gaming operators and its racetracks on sports betting. The 11 tribes that operate Minnesota’s casinos want exclusivity, while Canterbury Downs and Running Aces want access.
Miller’s bill would grant the tribal gaming nations rights to online Minnesota sports betting apps and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at their casinos. In addition, the tribes can have sportsbooks at either track or one of the state’s professional sports stadiums or arenas.
The Minnesota Legislature’s 2024 session is scheduled to start Feb. 12. Miller said he will file the bill on that day.
Klein’s Bill Remains Active In 2024
In a statement to MinnesotaBets.com, Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson thanked Miller for offering a new proposal.
“As we approach the start of the session in February, we continue to believe that both racetracks and tribal casino owners have proven to be responsible managers of gambling and should receive licenses to meet the demand for sports betting among Minnesotans,” he said. “This would reflect the beliefs of a majority of Minnesotans, based on the public polling we have seen.”
The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association declined to comment. The group, though, has supported another measure offered by Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, that gives the tribes exclusivity over online and retail sports betting. In return, racetracks would receive a portion of the tax revenue it generates. Klein’s bill, filed last year and still active, caps the fund for tracks at $20 million. After reaching that, they would divide up to $3 million annually.
Track leaders have pushed back on that, saying the fund does not generate enough money to help them compete for horses with other tracks across the Midwest.
Further complicating the issue is the narrow division between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Democrats hold a 34-33 advantage in the chamber. However, not all Democratic members are on board with expanding gaming. That means some Republican support is needed to pass a bill, but GOP lawmakers want to see the tracks get access.
Minnesota Surrounded By Sports Betting
State lawmakers have discussed legalizing Minnesota sports betting in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s PASPA decision in 2018. However, it wasn’t until 2022 that the House passed a bill. If lawmakers pass a bill that Gov. Tim Walz signs into law, Minnesota would join the 38 states and the District of Columbia that have already legalized sports betting.
Four states border Minnesota. All of them have some form of sports betting. Iowa has retail and online operators, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin allow their commercial and tribal casinos to host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
“Minnesota continues to miss out on what is now a $100 billion industry,“ Miller said.
Stay with MinnesotaBets.com for further reporting on efforts to bring operators, and the Minnesota sportsbook promo codes that they could introduce, to the public.