Last week, Minnesota legislators, led by Representative Pat Garofalo (R- Farmington), filed the bill that would legalize sports betting in Minnesota.

MN HF 1278, or the “Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019”, has everything that other states’ bills have, but with one major difference – a tax on the handle.

Every other state who has introduced some form of legislation has set a tax on the gross gaming revenue but Garofalo believes this method will “provide more stability” for both the investors and the state.

Taxing The Overall Handle

The bill calls for a 0.5% tax rate on all money that enters the casinos for sports betting.

For number comparison, the majority of casinos’ hold is typically about 5%. “Hold” is the amount of money that the house wins relative to the total handle.  

At these rates, this would allow for Minnesota to receive the same amount of tax contributions as if they were taxing the revenue at 10%, which is akin to legalized industries.

“I think Minnesota casinos will be at 7 to 8 percent of the hold,” Garofalo said. “Based off that, we’d end up with the lowest tax rate in the nation.”

What Else Is In The Minnesota Sports Betting Bill?

HF 1278 permits those who are 18 or older to participate in sports betting on tribal casino grounds only.

Currently, there are 11 tribes in Minnesota who operate 19 casinos throughout the state and Garofalo has repeatedly mentioned that the tribes must agree on any bill before he files it into legislation.

Betting on both professional and Division-1 collegiate events are allowed and wagering options will extend from straight bets to parlays, prop bets, and more.

There was no discussion of mobile wagering on this bill but Garofalo explained, “mobile gaming won’t be on the table unless tribal entities want it.”

The bill has been through its first reading and has since been referred to the Commerce Committee. The committee will meet this week but has no immediate plans for discussing HF 1278. However, Garofalo believes it will advance forward before the May 21 session end date.

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