Minnesota Legislators Get Sports Betting Talks Rolling

Written By Pat Evans on February 24, 2022
Minnesota sports betting

A group of Minnesota lawmakers is pushing a new sports betting effort to get the ball moving this session.

Sen. Roger Chamberlain led a press conference last week introducing a new bill for Minnesota sports betting. Chamberlain said sports betting could launch by fall 2023 if it passes.

“It’s time to move Minnesota forward,” Chamberlain said. “There are always challenges but there is momentum to get done.”

The announcement comes as Rep. Zack Stephenson prepares to introduce a bill, according to MinnPost. Stephenson announced he would lead a sports betting initiative in November.

Minnesota sports betting proposal

Chamberlain’s new bill will replace the language in legislation he filed last year. The bill provides for retail sportsbooks for the state’s tribal casinos and the two racetracks in the state.

It will also allow for mobile sports betting through operators partnered with the tribes.

“The proposal here is good for the tribes, good for the tracks and good for the consumers,” Chamberlain said. “This is not a big cash cow. This is about consumers and having some fun.”

Bipartisan support for MN sports betting

Chamberlain’s group includes previous sports betting bill sponsors Rep. Pat Garofalo and Sen. Karla Bigham. Senators Julia Coleman, Karin Housley and Mark Koran also were at the press conference.

As a Republican, Chamberlain said he could not speak for the entire caucus, but said the general support is there. Bigham said her Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) caucus is supportive if the state’s tribes are on board.

“First and foremost, we have to get everyone at the table to discuss this,” Bigham said. “I’m very hopeful we’ll get this across the finish line this year.”

The legislators mentioned Minnesotans driving across the borders to take part in Iowa sports betting multiple times as a reason to pursue legalization.

Tribal support in Minnesota?

Chamberlain said he has been indirectly involved with communications with the tribes.

“We want to protect the interests of the tribes,” he said. “This is a good spot for everyone to be in.”

Last month, Stephenson told LSR he had talked to most of the state’s 11 tribes in preparing for his sports betting bill.

When Stephenson announced his intentions last year, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association released a statement:

“The tribal governments making up MIGA have been examining the various ways sports betting has been implemented across the country and its impacts on tribal communities,” MIGA Executive Director Andy Platto said. “As gaming experts, tribes stand ready to share this expertise with lawmakers considering the future of sports betting in Minnesota.”

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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