Minnesota’s legislative session ends on May 22, 2023, and signs are now pointing toward the passage of legal sports betting before sine die.
There are proponents and opposition to sports betting in Minnesota, and the divide is largely based on which entities get to control the operations and, more importantly, the revenue that comes with it.
“It seems inevitable that Minnesota is going to pass sports betting this year or next, and therefore we will be at the table to help shape legislation.”
Minnesota Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley
There is plenty of potential for sports betting revenue should the state allow for all forms of sports betting, including in-person, online, and especially mobile sportsbooks.
MN has a state population of just under 6 million residents, which is comparable to Colorado, a region that allows for sports betting apps.
Sports betting in Colorado pulls in a monthly handle of between roughly $250-$500 million, resulting in tax collection totals that frequently top a million dollars.
Lawmakers are also keenly aware of other sports betting opportunities inside of Minnesota and in neighboring states.
South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Canada all feature legal sports betting of some kind, and all Minnesotans need to do is venture across state lines to take advantage.
There is also the presence of offshore sportsbook sites that fall outside of the jurisdiction of MN and federal gambling laws. These online sports betting venues are able to accept members from inside of Minnesota and allow them to wager over the web on all major and college sports.
The revenue collected by offshore sportsbooks travels outside of the state and does not benefit Minnesota in the slightest.
Clearly, there’s all the reason in the world to make sports betting legal in MN, but there are several fingers in the pie at the moment.
The state’s tribal casinos feel that they should be the sole sportsbook operators and retain control of all in-person and mobile sports betting.
“I would describe the teams as very aligned and trying to speak with one voice. There’s a lot of different ways this could go; our number one priority is finding alignment with the tribes.”
David St. Peter, President of the Minnesota Twins
Legislators are pushing for outside vendors like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM to apply for licenses and take up a significant chunk of the mobile sports betting market in the state.
Legalization will depend on the ability of all interested parties to share the wealth.
Speaking of wealth, Minnesota currently possesses a massive surplus of tax dollars and is not currently experiencing any budgetary shortfalls.
No, the main push will have more to do with the fact that gamblers inside of MN are already betting on sports using offshore books or traveling to other regions to place a wager on pro and college athletics.
Even if a bill passes this session, there will be further regulation required, and it will take some time for the licensing process to complete. With any luck, there could be legal sports betting in Minneapolis and the rest of the Gopher State by 2024.
Source – Star Tribune