Analysis

Little enthusiasm for new Minnesota betting bill

A new sports-betting bill has been presented to the Minnesota State Senate that would regulate betting at racetracks, casinos and online.

The proposal has bipartisan support and is backed by Democrat Senator Karla Bingham and Republican counterpart Jeremy Miller.

But it also comes with significant conditions and local politicians have shown little enthusiasm for it.

Bingham recently expressed enthusiasm for the bill. Republican Representative Pat Garofalo also stated he would re-introduce his own sports gambling bill in the House.

However, both are in the minority party in each of their chambers which presents a further hurdle to passing legislation. 

Tribal opposition 

In addition, online betting and gaming is controversial and is fiercely protected by different industry interests.

In this case, Minnesota’s tribal casinos have already stated their opposition to the project. 

The legislative leaders in the House and Senate were also asked if they supported legalized sports betting at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce forum earlier this month.

Three of them said ’no’ and one said they were unsure.  

This is reflected in how regulations are currently written.

Players would only be allowed to place bets at one of the state’s tribal casinos or at a licensed racetrack for the first year of regulated activity.

After that initial period remote and mobile bets would be allowed.

The corporate structure of the regulation however is likely to be similar to other regulated states.

Bookmakers would be licensed via land-based racetrack or casino skins. 

Modernization process

Taxes will be set at 6% of net revenues on activity taking place at casinos and racetracks and 8% on online bets.

Application, license and renewal fees have not yet been specified. 

A Sports Wagering Commission will be established to regulate and tax the activity.

Minnesota is tied with many other states in T19th on the Wedge Index of gaming friendliness. 

Regulating sports-betting, even if only in-person, would mark the start of a modernization process for the gambling sector in the ‘Land of the 10,000 Lakes’.

But that will only happen if or when Minnesota tribes actively support regulation.     

The success neighboring Iowa has enjoyed since regulating sportspbetting in 2019 has not swayed Minnesota so far.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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