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Alabama And Minnesota Sports Betting Hopes Dampen

Emperor Commodus giving a thumbs down

As more and more US states are added to the list of sports betting-friendly territories, the holdouts are becoming a part of a shrinking minority. Hawaii, Alaska, and Utah may be permanent holdouts due to cultural and geographical reasons.

Still, most other states have shown interest and appear positioned for legal sportsbooks within the next few years.

The hopes for legal sports betting in Alabama and Minnesota in 2024 are now slim as traveling bills have been scaled back or neutered entirely prior to final passage.  Here’s the latest from Capitol Hill in AL and MN.

Alabama Sports Betting Update

In mid-February, we wrote about Alabama HB 151 and HB 152, two pieces of legislation that would place a state constitutional amendment on the ballot and initiate sports betting, casinos, and a lottery.

Those two bills passed the House, but yesterday, debate in the Senate resulted in the passage of a version with casinos and sportsbooks removed. All that is at stake now is the creation of an Alabama Lottery.

If the House passes these bills without further revision and the Governor signs them into law, a constitutional amendment will be voted on during a special election on September 10th.

  • Outlook: Lottery is at least a decent start for Alabama gambling and could prompt additional options in future sessions.

Minnesota Sports Betting Update

February was also a month rich with debate on legal sports betting in the Minnesota legislature, with two bills being considered. The content of both bills would legalize all forms of domestic sports betting in MN – online, mobile, and at retail locations.

The situation is similar to California and Florida in that opinions are split as to whether local tribes should have a monopoly or area racinos should be cut in on the deal.

SF 3803 was drafted with Native American gaming interests in mind, granting them total control over sports betting in MN. The Indians’ insistence on market domination could be because of the number of tribes that are present.

In the bill, 11 Federally Recognized Tribes in Minnesota would split the sports betting pie.

HF 2000’s bill language includes provisions for racetracks and even professional sports stadiums to house retail sportsbooks, which Minnesota tribes would operate. Local racetracks support this bill over SF 3803 but are understandably not fully on board just yet.

While these disagreements present a significant hurdle, Florida was able to establish a Native American gaming monopoly for sports betting. However, over two years of state and federal legal battles between gaming interests needed to be resolved, but those precedents are now set in stone.

  • Outlook: We expect these quarrels to sideline MN sports betting for at least another year.


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