More than a dozen states have eyed legal sports betting
Legal Sports Report

Sports Betting Bill Coming In Minnesota: Rep Says ‘We Want To Have It Safe, Regulated’

Minnesota sports betting
A lawmaker in Minnesota indicated that he is planning to introduce a bill that would regulate sports betting in the state.

If it happens, it would be the latest in a string of more than a dozen bills on the subject in recent years.

The Minnesota sports betting effort?

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Rep. Pat Garofalo has plans to introduce sports betting legislation:

“We want to have it safe, regulated, and fair,” he said. “Sports gambling is taking place in Minnesota, especially with the Internet. A lot of this money that’s being wagered is going overseas, where there are no consumer protections. It’s not being regulated.”

The comments came as the Minnesota State Department of Public Safety said it is stepping up enforcement against illegal sports gambling.

Stopping offshore sports betting sites is clearly a nearly impossible task for almost any state. However, the state could probably stop at least some bookmakers that physically operate in the state.

What would the bill look like?

Such a bill would mostly likely take the form of sports betting regulation that would take effect should the climate at the federal level change.

Currently, New Jersey’s case to legalize sports wagering is in front of the US Supreme Court. A win could potentially set up a scenario where the federal ban on sports betting — PASPA — is struck down, and states could follow NJ’s lead in legalization.

Short of a victory in the NJ sports betting case, Congress would have to repeal or alter PASPA for states to be able to legalize sports gambling. Currently, only sportsbooks in Nevada can offer single-game wagering under PASPA.

Legal Sports Report has reached out to Garofalo for more details.

AGA gets involved

The American Gaming Association represents the casino industry in the US. It has featured sports betting as one of its signature issues.

As chatter in Minnesota ramped up, the AGA released research from Oxford Economics on the possible impact in the country and the state:

A legal, regulated sports betting market could bring as much as $531 million in economic output to Minnesota’s economy, support up to 3,093 jobs and generate up to $107 million in tax revenue, according to the AGA.

That seems like an overly optimistic view of the impact of sports betting for the state, at least in terms of direct revenue.

Tough road may lie ahead in Minnesota

It’s notable that Minnesota is not one of the 16 states that has enacted daily fantasy sports laws. Whether that means a tough road for a sports betting bill is unclear.

However, Minnesota’s tribes will certainly have to be included in any discussion of legalization. The 11 tribes there have already started to think about the future of sports betting.

Minnesota also has no casino gambling. It’s not clear how sports betting would take place in the state outside of the tribal gaming structure, if at all.

States eyeing sports betting

More than a dozen states have introduced some sort of sports betting legislation this year.

Many of those efforts have not gained much traction, to date. But states are at least contemplating a world where they could legalize the industry.

Still, both Mississippi and Connecticut have already passed laws that would set the stage for legal sports betting.

Image credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.