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Minnesota Lawmaker Confident State Native Tribes will Support Sports Betting Bill

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
12 min read
  • MN State Rep. Zack Stephenson Confident Native Tribes will Back His House Bill
  • Minnesota Sports Betting Blocked by Tribal Governments Who Fear Threat to Casinos
  • Current Bill Gives State 10% of Tribal Net Profits from Mobile Sports Betting
Minnesota Tribes Betting Bill

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MN State Rep. Zack Stephenson Confident Native Tribes will Back His House Bill

Eleven native tribes operate nineteen casinos in Minnesota’s current gambling market, so it makes sense that any new sports betting legislation being proposed to that state’s congress must take into account the financial concerns and needs of all those existing tribes.

State Representative Zack Stephenson is “confident” the sports betting bill he has proposed to the House does just that – address the main issue that has kept those native tribes opposed to a legal sport gambling market in their state – money.

According to Stephenson’s bill, those tribes would keep all the profits from sports wagers made in person at their casinos and they would get to keep about 5% of the online action that’s generated by their outside mobile sportsbook partners.

This House bill aims to open an entirely new income stream for the Land of 10,000 Lakes in a way that would still give those native tribes most of the control and much of the profits in addition to giving resident-bettors easier access to that popular activity, with Stephenson saying:

If this bill passes, Minnesotans will be able to visit sports betting lounges in casinos all across Minnesota, and they’ll also be able to wager on sports from their own mobile phones anywhere in the state.

It’s been an uphill battle for Gopher State lawmakers to make this happen.

Minnesota Sports Betting Blocked by Tribal Governments Who Fear Threat to Casinos

Minnesota has had almost four years to figure out how to launch their own legal sports betting market, a choice that all U.S. states can now make ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 allowing states to decide if they want their residents to bet on sports.

But with those eleven native tribes essentially owning a monopoly on Minnesota’s gambling market via their nineteen casinos located across the North Star State, so far any attempt to bring a legal sports betting market there has been met with heavy opposition.

What tribe leaders and state lawmakers are beginning to realize is that state residents are already spending millions of dollars annually wagering on sports, they just use unregulated offshore sportsbooks, illicit bookies, and neighboring states to do it.

Representative Pat Garofalo, the bipartisan bill’s other sponsor, said as much in a statement:

This approach will transition Minnesota from the black market of unregulated activity to a regulated market with consumer transparency, consumer protections, as well as defunding organized crime and money laundering.

But the true key to getting this bill passed is to keep the native tribal leaders happy.

Current Bill Gives State 10% of Tribal Net Profits from Mobile Sports Betting

Some states like New York charge a 51% tax rate on sports betting revenue but Reps. Stephenson’s and Garofalo’s bill allows for Minnesota to only take a 10% cut of the tribe’s online profits, a reasonable number meant to entice tribal leaders who have opposed similar efforts.

Still, that would net Minnesota a projected $20 million a year which has been earmarked to counter gambling addiction, fund troubled youth programs, and towards regulating the industry to ensure it does not affect what happens on the fields of play.

It’s an inevitable direction to head, especially seeing as how Minnesota’s neighbors – Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa – have already launched their own legal sports betting markets, but that MN House bill still has a way to go before it’s a law, so check back for the latest news and updates.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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