Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Making Progress in Legislature


By Jake Perper

February 26th, 2019 - 10:00am

Minnesota is working its way through a bill that will allow sports betting in the state.

Last Monday, the bill for a sports betting legalization made it to the state House of Representatives. From this point on it will be the effort to make it go through and pass the state legislature.

Minnesota is looking to become one of 30 states trying to make some form of sports betting legal.

The Bill and Pitch

The bill, HF1278, introduced by Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican in Farmington pitches the legalization of sports betting on professional and college sporting events at tribal casinos, but not any online or mobile system.

The discussions have been going on for quite some time now and Garofalo is trying to agree on a deal/plan that will benefit the tribal casinos. They will have the ultimate decision in terms of it getting rolled out fully. Garofalo told MPR News:

“These conversations have been going on for close to a year. We’ve addressed the concerns people have brought forward to us. We hope this will be enough to get us across the finish line and begin that process of having these compacts negotiated.”

Six co-sponsors are being looked upon as the bill waits further attention in the House commerce committee and that means it will take a few weeks or so until the next meeting.

Why Minnesota?

The state of Minnesota has plenty of success in pro and college sports and the vast sports history there and the big population makes Minnesota one of the top targets from the gambling industry lobbyists.

The activity that could be made in Minnesota is comparable to the list of other high population states that are looking to get legalization bills for sports betting done this year.

The Issues Ahead

Early last month, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association came out publicly against any form of legal sports betting legislation. The MIGA made the argument against it and that the state should review the impact on wagering on pro and collegiate sports before furthering along with the bill.

On the other hand, the bill proposed by Garofalo would give the 11 federally recognized tribes a monopoly on the sports wagers in Minnesota. Garofalo has a tall task of getting the tribe to give him his blessing after HF 1278 has the plans to make just that.

No one from the MIGA has commented in the public follow the bill’s introduction on Feb. 18.

Another issue in the bill is the focus on pleasing just the tribal casinos. Horse tracks, restaurants/bar partners or other gaming establishments could be upset about leaving out of the revenue that could be made from the sports betting.

Also, not having an online sports betting option and the distance between the tribal casinos mixed with the brutal weather conditions in the winter could make this bill even more complicated in the eyes of voters.

Tax Plan with Bill

The bill lays out a plan for a 0.5 percent tax on each single wager. Supporters of HF 1278 say this will certainly keep revenues at a consistent clip as they won’t depend on gambling sources holding high margins for betters. All eight states who take bets legally tax on net profits not on each single bet, so that is different.

All in all, most states tax around 10 percent of the winnings from gamblers.

What Lies Ahead?

Despite the early stages, there is a lot of positivity from the law makers that this will get done by the end of the year.

Near Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa all have plans in place to get legal sports betting going in 2019. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan are also setting out plans as well.

Whether this indeed gets passed in Minnesota, the effort is there and they are making themselves part of the legal ports betting talk in a fast paced moving business.

Written By
Jake Perper

Jake Perper covers gambling news for TopUSBets.com. He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida based out of Tampa, Florida and has covered the Chicago Bears for the... Read More

Jake Perper covers gambling news for TopUSBets.com. He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida...

.. Read More