Legislation introduced once again to legalize sports wagering in Minnesota

Minnesota lawmakers are back again this year to introduce another bill to legalize sports betting in the state and “intend to finish the job,” according to state Rep. Zach Stephenson (DLF- Coon Rapids). Last year legalized sports betting passed the House but stalled out in the Senate.

2022 Sports Betting Revenue in the US Crosses $80 Billion

Americans are gambling on sports in massive numbers. In 2022, the United States’ online sports wagering revenue was more than $80 billion and US casino revenue was more than $60 billion. Some 36 states and Washington D.C. have legalized sports betting since 2018.

“Minnesotans deserve the same opportunities that our neighbors have,” Stephenson said on Tuesday during a press conference.

“Legalization is the only responsible way to address the phenomenon of sports betting,” Stephenson said. “Only through legalization can we provide consumer protection. Only through legalization can we honestly deal with the terrible issue of problem gambling.”

Bill HF2000

Stephenson’s bill, HF2000, includes sports betting at both brick-and-mortar and tribal casinos, as well as statewide mobile sports betting operated by the tribes in partnership with commercial operators.

“If this bill passes, Minnesotans will be able to place wagers on sports at any of the tribal casinos in our state, and they will also be able to wager on sports on their smartphones anywhere in the state,” Stephenson said.

What the bill does not include are the state’s horse tracks.

“This would be the largest expansion of gambling in the state since the introduction of the tribal casinos,” Stephenson said. “For such a significant expansion of gaming, I believe it makes sense to partner with the most successful, longest running, gambling operators in the state, which are our tribal casinos.” He continued, “They’re the most highly regulated form of gaming in the state of Minnesota. They have experience doing gaming at a level of operations that’s much greater than any other operator in the state of Minnesota.” But there is a bill that includes horse tracks.

Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, recently introduced his Minnesota Sports Betting Act, designed to include Indian tribes, horse racing tracks, and professional sports teams. LINK: https://www.bonusfinder.com/news/minnesota-sports-betting-act-may-be-finalized-this-week

Legitimate Market, Not Revenue

The legal online sports betting industry has grown into an economic engine, generating more than $2.47 billion in tax revenue across the U.S. since May 2018. Over 44 percent of the U.S. population is now able to bet legally on sports.

“Minnesotans are demanding sports wagering, and in many cases are already accessing it on a black market,” said Senator Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights) on Tuesday.

HF2000 Tax Rate & Revenue

HF2000, introduced by Stephenson, imposes a 10% tax rate on all sports betting gains. Lawmakers estimate the state could take in between $10 to $12 million annually from sports betting.

The money generated from the tax rate will be dedicated to three causes: regulations and consumer protections, problem gaming, and funding youth sports and other youth programming across the state.

“It’s not gonna be a major revenue event for the state of Minnesota,” Stephenson said. “We’re not doing this to raise revenue for the state. We’re doing this in order to transition from an illicit market to a legitimate market and to put guardrails on the activity, get consumer protections, and take care of the downstream effects. We need enough money to fund those things which this bill has in it, but beyond that, we’re not looking to raise revenue here.”

When asked how soon state lawmakers could act on the bill, Stephenson said, “I would be very surprised if we were taking floor votes on sports betting before April. That would be shocking to me.”

Political Editor

Keith Stein is a freelance journalist based in Virginia. He has experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.