Minnesota lawmakers say they’ve got agreement on plan to legalize sports betting

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Minnesota lawmakers say they’ve got an agreement on a plan to legalize sports betting in the state.

Tuesday, DFL lawmakers in the Minnesota House and Senate announced an agreement with the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and local professional sports teams.

Under the agreed-upon plan, mobile betting would be allowed in gaming controlled by Indian tribes while in-person betting would only be allowed in Native American casinos.

However, the plan leaves out the state’s horse tracks. The bill’s authors say they want to partner with Native American tribes because of the tribes’ experience in the gaming industry, but the local horse tracks point out they’ve got experience in gaming, too.

“We’re just as qualified if not more than the tribes who have, by the way, have not taken one sports bet in the 40 years that they’ve been in existence,” Taro Ito, the president and CEO of Running Aces, said.

Ito added that horse tracks may face cutbacks due to the increased gambling competition.

Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., have already passed legislation allowing sports betting.

Sports betting bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2018 struck down a law that essentially banned sports betting in most states.

In April 2022, our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll showed 57% of Minnesotans surveyed favored in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and horse tracks. Only 7% said “tribal casinos only,” and 9% said “horse tracks only.” The same poll showed 57% favored mobile sports betting. The margin of error was +/-4.9%; the survey results are below.

“Last year, legalized sports betting passed the House with a bipartisan majority but stalled out in the Senate. We’re back this year and intend to finish the job,” Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), author of the House bill, said Tuesday.

“It likely will be a bipartisan vote. I think there’s support in most communities across the state of Minnesota for this,” Sen. Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights), the Senate sponsor of the bill, said.

Additionally, Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) submitted a proposal that would allow 11 of Minnesota’s tribes, two horse tracks and all professional sports teams could offer sports betting on-site.

Rep. Patrick Garofalo (R-Farmington) said he wants to ensure safe betting practices such as enforcing a strict minimum gambling age of 21.

View the poll results below.

SurveyUSA interviewed a representative cross-section of 650 Minnesota adults online from 04/06/22 through 04/11/22, using a sample provided by Lucid Holdings LLC of New Orleans. Of the adults, 556 were registered to vote and were asked the questions which follow. The pool of adult survey respondents was weighted to US Census targets for gender, age, race, education, and homeownership.