Minnesota might be the next state to begin accepting sports wagers.
Back in December, it was reported by Gambling.com that lawmakers were hoping that a bill legalizing sports betting would pass through the Minnesota legislature during the 2019 session. Rep. Pat Garofalo, speaking with Gambling.com, expressed more than simple optimism that Minnesota would see sports betting in 2019.
”I'm confident it's going to happen. I just can't tell you what month or year yet. The American sports fan has spoken, they want to bet on their favorite team from the couch in their living room. And if we don't provide a regulated environment for that, they're just going to continue to use the offshore sportsbooks that provide that service right now.”
There, of course, are still some steps to be taken by Minnesota before citizens will be able to walk into their local casino and bet on the Vikings. For one, the government will need to work with the Native Americans that actually own the state’s casinos.
In an article by the Star Tribune, it was reported that the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association would be opposing any gambling legislation put forward in 2019, which could prove problematic due to the lack of non-Native owned casinos.
Some legislators are urging caution to simply make sure they implement it correctly, including Rep. Ryan Winkler. From the Star Tribune article, “I don’t think anyone wants to rush into anything.” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, however, is trying to push the bill ahead as soon as possible, saying that sports betting will occur with or without legislation.
“Right now it’s been underground and there are people doing it already. “It’s perfectly safe. It’s not like drinking booze or smoking marijuana. It’s like investing. They have opinions, and they want to invest based on those opinions.”
Additionally, things like the desired tax rate are still yet to be discussed and hammered down. That little detail means that what Minnesota is pushing currently is little more than skeleton work, but it’s still more along than what some of Minnesota’s neighbors have.
So while Minnesota forges ahead in search of sports betting, their midwestern neighbors are still trying to find the support to get their own bills off the ground. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are the most likely to join Minnesota, as the three states have the most support for new sports gambling laws.
Iowa and South Dakota are hoping to have legislation later in the year, but there are no solid plans yet beyond that. Both states do have casinos owned by Native American tribes, but neither are making any significant headway in terms of legalizing sports betting.
In the meantime, it looks like Minnesota will lead the way for the Midwest. Despite early signs of opposition by various groups, the movement to legalize sports gambling in Minnesota has plenty of strength behind it. Minnesotans can likely expect the government to have sports betting up and running before the end of 2019.