Minnesota Capitol

  • Minnesota could have legal sports betting in 2021 if a bill currently being introduced to the Legislature were to receive passage.
  • Governor Tim Walz has said that he is in favor of a legal Minnesota sports betting market should a bill find its way to his desk this year.
  • Senate File 410 would allow the state both mobile and retail sportsbooks if passed in both the House and the Senate, a decision that already looks to be split right from its introduction.

SAINT PAUL, Minn.The Minnesota Legislature was presented with a bill on Thursday that would legalize sports betting in the North Star State.

Senate File 410 was referred to the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee where it received its first reading.

Governor Tim Walz has stated that he is open to the possibility of Minnesota having a legal sports wagering industry through any legislation that could make it happen in 2021. However, there is opposition by the Tribes in the state and lawmakers as well, even before the reading occurred on Thursday.

“Any major policy item that has a lot of disagreement I don’t foresee happening this year, but in addition, many of us just don’t think it’s the right thing to do for Minnesota,” said Paul Gazelka, Senate Majority Leader.

So although the Governor is open to the industry and its legalization in the state, MN SF 410 would need to pass through both the House and the Senate before reaching his desk, and there seem to be many hurdles for the bill to jump in order to reach its final destination.

What Does Senate File 410 Do For Minnesota?

Under MN SF 410, residents in Minnesota would be able to visit land-based casinos and racetracks to place bets on various sports matchups. The in-person gambling style would only be implemented for the inaugural year of the market’s launch to the public.

Year two would introduce mobile sportsbook applications that would be tethered to the retail establishments and not be opened as solely stand-alone operations.

The tax rate is written as 6% on all gross gaming revenue from brick-and-mortar facilities and 8% from mobile platforms after they roll out during the second year of the industry.

All profits generated from sports betting would go toward the Minnesota General Fund which allots money to programs in the state in need of funding at any given time. And half of 1% of the revenue produced would be put aside for gambling addiction initiatives.

Will Minnesota See Legal Sports Betting In 2021?

Many are opposed to having a legal sports betting market in Minnesota. It wasn’t long ago that it was illegal to purchase alcohol on Sundays and that took a few years’ worth of bills to get that particular law passed.

Government officials say the North Star State eventually gets things done, they’re just slower than most.

Along with opposition from the public and some policymakers, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association has also spoken out against any legislation that would make sportsbooks legal in the state. The Tribes have provided millions through various donations for Minnesota which has been made possible through their gaming businesses.

Only a few weeks ago they issued a statement that read:

“The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association continues to oppose the expansion of off-reservation gambling, including the legalization of sports betting.”

The first half of the Minnesota Legislative session will adjourn on March 26. They will convene again on April 6. But Senator Karla Bigham, sponsor of MN SF 410, says the time is now to legalize sports betting in the state as it’s done every day by Minnesotans.

Making the industry legal would protect consumers while gaining profits for the economy at the same time. And with more than half of the United States already having their own sports betting markets since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, why not Minnesota?

“People are sick and tired of driving to Iowa, and now you have South Dakota,” said Bigham. “If Wisconsin beats us to this, I won’t even know what to think. I just think it’s time.”

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