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Minnesota House Passes Sports Betting Bill, Senate Passage Unlikely

Minnesota House Passes Sports Betting Bill, Senate Passage Unlikely article feature image

Harrison Barden/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

A sports betting bill cleared the Minnesota House on Thursday, though the Senate has already come out against it.

The House passed HF 778 69-57, which would legalize online and retail sports betting through the state’s 11 native tribes. After holding up previous bills for years, the tribes are finally on board with sports betting, as the House bill would give them a monopoly on the industry.

However, the Senate has been outspoken against giving the tribes a monopoly. Instead, the Senate wants to include racetracks and professional sports teams as operators.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller told Fox 9-Minneapolis, a tribal sports betting monopoly doesn’t have support in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader @jeremyrmiller says sports betting is "running out of time."

The House expects a Thursday vote on its bill, which gives exclusive rights to tribes.

But "there’s not support in the Senate to do sports betting for tribal casinos only," Miller says. #mnleg

— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) May 10, 2022

Competing Proposals

The Senate has its own bill, but it’s seen no committee action since it first surfaced. The bill would tax operators at 9.85% — compared to the 10% rate in the House bill — and would allow professional sports teams and racetracks to apply for licenses. The tribes are against it.

Both are low relative to the tax rate in other states. Most the of the revenue raised would fund the cost to regulate and implement sports betting. The rest would go toward youth sports and problem gambling programs.

Both bills allow online license holders to partner with commercial operators like DraftKings or FanDuel.

Compromise Needed

Both chambers must pass the same bill by May 23  to get something to Gov. Tim Walz (D)’s desk.  Walz supports sports betting, but has said he won’t sign anything the tribes don’t support.

Unless the Senate agrees on the tribal monopoly the House has committed to, legalizing sports betting might be unrealistic in 2022.

Either way, Thursday marks first time the House has successfully passed a bill to bring online sports betting to Minnesota, a positive sign for one of the last states in the Midwest to legalize.


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