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Minnesota Advances Sports Betting Bill, but Familiar Roadblocks Remain Ahead

Written by: Michael Savio
Published March 7, 2024
5 min read

Minnesota Sports Betting Bill

The effort to legalize sports betting in Minnesota will continue into 2024. The Minnesota Senate’s Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee passed SF 1949 on to the next stage. The bill would legalize retail and online sports betting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The state’s federally recognized tribes would have sole rights to the industry, allowing them to form partnerships with third-party operators to set up retail and online sportsbooks.

While the bill is moving in the right direction, many believe it will fail the same way past sports betting legislation has. The Minnesota House has proposed several sports betting bills since the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Protection Act in 2018. However, all failed when they reached the Senate floor.

The major roadblock in the Senate revolves around the tribes’ control over the industry. Many opponents argue that the law would hurt the state’s robust horse racing industry. Track operators have been asking for sports betting rights to protect their current revenue without relying on a tribal partnership. 

"Running Aces will need to find other sources of revenue to offset the lost revenue with the current version of the sports betting bill.” Running Aces CFO Tracie Wilson told regulators at a hearing, “Sports betting will result in a significant loss of revenue for Running Aces. The tracks stand to lose revenues that are necessary to sustain the entire operations in order to support horse racing." 

The tribes have rejected the Senate's attempts to amend previous House proposals to grant the tracks sports betting rights. A second sports betting bill currently in the works would give the tracks access to sports betting, but it is unclear if it will be enough to make a difference.

SF 1949 is currently with the Minnesota Senate’s Tax Committee, where they will review it before moving closer to a Senate vote.

Sports Betting Expansion Could Stall in 2024

North Carolina is launching its sports betting industry on March 11, but it is unknown which state will follow. Several states are pushing new sports betting bills, but none have a smooth path to legalization. The closest could be Missouri, which has seen its pro sports team join a push to circumvent the state legislature to legalize the industry.

California and Texas remain the two largest potential markets that have been unable to legalize sports betting. Although their concerns are different, both have run into staunch opposition that makes legalization unlikely once again in 2024. 

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Michael Savio

423 Articles

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.

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