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Updated Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Gaining Momentum

Written by: Michael Savio
Published March 28, 2024
6 min read
Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Gaining Momentum

After years of deadlock, the Land of 10,000 Lakes may finally join neighboring Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois in legalizing sports betting.

The Minnesota House is reviewing a sports betting bill designed to overcome the roadblocks that have doomed previous attempts. The changes made to this year’s bill have already gotten support from the state’s tribes, key legislators, and charities. Those three groups have battled over past bills, making this a very positive sign for the bill’s chance to become law.

"Well, I think momentum is building, I think we have a great chance. It's a difficult bill because gambling bills, by their nature have to be bipartisan, there are Democrats and Republicans who will never vote for it. So you have to assemble a broad bipartisan coalition, and these days that is very difficult, but momentum is building," bill sponsor Zack Stephenson said.

The tax rate and distribution are the biggest changes with this year’s sports betting bill. One of the biggest issues in the past has been the bill’s effect on the pull-tab industry at bars and restaurants. If sports betting became legal, that industry would be eliminated, which would have a major impact on the Allied Charities of Minnesota (ACM). The ACM currently receives around $40 million in donations from pull-tab games, so they have strongly opposed legislation to eliminate them.

The new bill proposes raising the sports betting operator tax rate to 20%, up from the original 10%. That extra revenue would replace those charitable donations, which has swayed the ACM to support the bill.

In addition to the support from ACM, the new bill also has the backing of the state’s federally recognized tribes, which has been another major obstacle in the past.

Concerns Over Problem Gambling Persists

While several key legislatures now support legalizing sports betting, many still have major concerns about problem gambling. The last two weeks alone have seen several high-profile sports betting scandals and reports of spikes in sports betting among college students. 

The US Congress has proposed the SAFE Bet Act, which would add major regulations for sports betting across the country. The proposal aims to curb problem gambling by changing rules around marketing and how deposits are made.

While the recent spike in sports betting scandals is giving some Minnesota legislatures pause, new federal regulations could help get the bill passed.

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AUTHOR

Michael Savio

412 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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