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Minnesota Sports Betting Update: New Bill Bans Historical Horse Race Betting

Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves

On April 1st, the Minnesota Racing Commission voted to allow historical horse race betting terminals at the state’s two existing racinos, prompting an immediate and harsh response from legislators supporting circulating legal sports betting bills.

The move was granted at the behest of Minnesota’s racetracks, Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus. Both venues have experienced revenue shortfalls in recent years, and the addition of these machines has traditionally attracted significant profits for racinos in other states.

These historical race betting terminals are akin to slot machines. The betting and payouts work the same as off-track or live racing, but the events have already occurred.

Once bets are placed on a given set of odds, a race is selected randomly from a library of over 100,000 prior events.

“You pick what horse you want to bet on without knowing what the race that you’re betting on is. The computer randomly selects a race that you are betting on. And then if you picked the horse that won the random race that was selected, you win.”

MN House Representative Zack Stephenson

What makes this move controversial is the time at which it was made by the Commission. Several bills are being actively debated in the legislature that would approve of legal sports betting in Minnesota.

Local charitable gaming institutions are now on board, and more legislators appear poised for a yea than are for a nay, but this new action by the Commission has some going back to the drawing board.

House Representative Zack Stephenson’s bill, MN HF2000, dedicates $625,000 in tax revenue from sports betting revenue to be split among Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park.

Opponents believe that racetracks should have a larger share of the action based on collections other states have experienced that approved of mobile sports betting.

HF2000 also includes provisions for eSports betting, which is essentially gambling on live video game competitions. The bill is still in the committee approval process.

MN SF5330 is a new sports betting bill introduced yesterday by Representative John Marty. Similar to other bills under consideration, it adds more resources for problem gaming and increases the state’s revenue cut.

“If we are going to do mobile sports betting, I think we need safeguards… I believe we need to protect the public,”

MN Representative John Marty

5330 also prevents domestic sportsbooks from offering in-game betting, which has become incredibly popular.

Session wraps up in just over a month, so it may not be until 2025 that domestic sports betting in MN Is legalized.


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The Star Tribune

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