Can Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Make Waves In Senate?

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Minnesota sports betting

With just a few days left in the 2022 legislative session, Minnesota sports betting faces an uphill climb.

The Minnesota House advanced a MN sports betting bill, HF 788, last week, 70-57. The Senate Finance Committee will hear the bill Thursday and could send it to the chamber floor.

However, the bill’s path to the finish line is not clear and the legislative session ends Monday. If the Senate, as expected, does not agree to an identical bill from the House, it would need a conference committee.

Minnesota Senate opposition to House plan

The House bill hitting the Senate gives Minnesota sports betting exclusivity to tribes. Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller previously said there is not enough support for the House version.

“I’ve long been a supporter of sports betting,” Miller said in a press conference Tuesday. “There’s no one at the capitol that would like to see it get done more than me. We need the stakeholders to get together. If the tribes and the tracks can come together and sort of work towards an agreement, I’m confident that we can get bipartisan support for the sports betting bill.

“But until that happens, it’s going to be challenging to get enough votes to get it passed.”

A Senate bill did not move from committee this session. The chamber wants to include commercial entities, such as the two Minnesota horse racing tracks and the state’s professional sports teams.

Minnesota politics in action

During last week’s discussion in the DFL-controlled House, several Republican lawmakers expressed their displeasure with the bill. The GOP controls the Senate.

The GOP believes it will take control of the House next year and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said on the floor that sports betting could pass in the future if it fails this year. Daudt then voted against the bill.

DFL Gov. Tim Walz has supported MN sports betting in the past. Meanwhile, 64% of Minnesotans support sports betting, according to a recent KTSP/SurveyUSA poll.

Minnesota sports betting proposal

The House legislation would allow the 11 federally recognized tribes in Minnesota to partner with online sports betting operators. That would likely mean operators like DraftKings and FanDuel could enter the market.

In previous years, tribal opposition helped to kill sports betting legislation. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association spoke in support of HF 788 throughout the House committee hearings.

The tribes are staunchly against including commercial businesses, like tracks and professional sports teams.