Minnesota House Ready To Pass Sports Betting Bill

Written By Pat Evans on May 11, 2022
Minnesota sports betting

While trouble looms in the Senate, Minnesota House is expected to pass sports betting legislation Thursday.

HF 778 is scheduled for a vote Thursday on the House floor, according to the calendar for the day. The Minnesota sports betting legislation traversed through five committees to reach the House floor.

An industry source told LSR the votes are there to pass the House, but Republican votes will be sparse. The session ends May 23.

Minnesota Senate quiet on issue

The sports betting bill might make it past the House, but it will run into roadblocks in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller told Fox 9 reporter Theo Keith that sports betting is “running out of time.”

A Senate bill was introduced earlier in session but has not seen any committee action. A Senator told LSR last week that the chamber is “still working” the bill.

Sports betting has little traction with Senate Republicans. The chamber’s proponents also want to include race tracks and professional sports stadiums, a likely dealbreaker for the tribal compromise behind House legislation.

Progress made in Minnesota

In the past, MN sports betting was an uphill battle with the tribes. In fall 2021, Rep. Zack Stephenson announced he would lead the effort to get them on board.

The tribal opinions shifted and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association started to back Stephenson’s proposal during committee meetings.

If the Senate proponents are not willing to budge on their desires, however, it appears that support might wane.

Minnesota sports betting proposal

Stephenson’s bill up for a House vote legalizes sports betting through the 11 federally-recognized tribes in Minnesota. The legislation creates 11 online sports betting skins, one for each of the tribes, which could also open retail sportsbooks at their casinos.

Minnesota would tax sports betting revenue at 10%, but Stephenson said legalizing the industry is about more than just money. Minnesota will have a significant budget surplus.

“I do want taxes low,” Stephenson said at the last committee hearing. “A primary purpose of this is to defeat the black market. Another primary purpose of this bill is to be honest about what’s happening in Minnesota and address it honestly.”

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-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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