In Minnesota, sports betting is again on the table with lawmakers seeking to introduce both mobile and in-person betting and snuff out the offshore betting sector.
In-Person and Mobile Sports Betting on the Table
Minnesota lawmakers will be looking to legalize sports betting, Democratic Sen. Karla Bigham and Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo announced on Tuesday, joining no fewer than 25 states and Washington, D.C. that have been trying to push ahead with a fully-fledged betting industry for their own jurisdictions.
As the legislation stands, lawmakers are looking to allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos during the first year and then gradually roll out mobile sports betting for anyone who signs an account at a casino.
The revenue generated through gambling operations on sports will be charged at 6% for all in-person wagers and 8% for all mobile receipts. To help regulate the industry, the proposal outlines a new gambling regulator which will bring racetracks and tribes as some of its members.
Sen. Bingham and Rep. Garofalo have moderate expectations about the outcome of sports betting in the state, but they insist that the state would achieve a considerable advantage if it manages to offer consumers a regulated and trusted market.
They argue that even now, Minnesota residents spend millions betting at offshore websites which puts their mental and financial well-being at risk. Luckily, though, sports bettors are beginning to withdraw from the unregulated markets. Yet, to do so in full, they need regulated options at home.
Commenting on the issue of offshore operators, Sen. Bingham argued that the activity was embraced in full and rogue websites were targeting vulnerable consumers within the state borders, offering no protections in return.
Lawmakers Would Need the Tribal “Aye” to Proceed
Yet, for any type of regulation to proceed, the state will have to seek the approval of tribal operators who have a monopoly on most gambling operations in the state. Tribes are unlikely to approve any type of bill that allows commercial operators to enter the state or mobile sports betting to start up.
Lawmakers argue that having sports betting legalized would start chipping away at the gaping $1.3 billion budget deficit the state experiences, but this will definitely not be the case if tribes consider their state compacts threatened.
In other words, for Minnesota to benefit from sports betting it will have to work with tribes instead of against them. Meanwhile, Gov. Tim Walz has already confirmed that he is willing to listen to lawmakers on the matters of sports betting and support legislation.
Other lawmakers from all political hues have also rallied behind the proposal and said that they would support it. Yet, things do look uncertain when it comes to sports betting in Minnesota this year.