Revised Sports Betting Bill Already a Hot Topic in Minnesota

Posted on: January 22, 2024, 02:24h. 

Last updated on: January 22, 2024, 07:02h.

Sports betting will be back on the agenda on the first day of the 2024 Minnesota legislative session. Minnesota State Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) is redoubling efforts to legalize sports betting.

Minnesota State Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) will introduce version 2.0 of his controversial sports betting bill next month. (Image: Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

Miller has unveiled the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, which he says includes modifications of previous bills based on his feedback from legislators and constituents.

In 2023, state lawmakers in St. Paul were unable to move multiple bills to advance sports betting. Such was the case in 2022 as well, when lawmakers criticized the process, which killed the effort for that year.

Last year’s sports betting bills differed on the level of exclusive access to state operation licenses for the state’s Native American tribes. Native American tribes own the casinos in the North Star State.

“This updated proposal combines ideas from my original Minnesota Sports Betting Act, along with provisions from other sports betting bills that were introduced last session,” Miller said. “The goal of this proposal is to bring folks together to work toward a bipartisan solution to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. I strongly believe we can get it done this year.”

Miller will introduce Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0 on February 12.

What’s Included in the Revised Bill

Miller says the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0 includes licensing opportunities for Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations to offer retail and mobile sports betting. License holders would have the option to operate retail betting on the premises of horse racing tracks or professional sports stadiums in Minnesota.

Sports betting revenue would be taxed at a 15% rate. Tax proceeds, according to Miller, would provide charitable gaming tax relief to local charities, boost horse racing, and attract major sporting events.

The revised bill includes some charitable gaming options eliminated in the 2023 tax bill, including free plays and bonus games on electronic pull tabs.

In 2023, an amendment to include a portion of the sports gambling revenue to the state’s horse racing tracks was considered a sticking point for some Republicans.

Revised Bill Faces Early Opposition

Even before the matter comes before lawmakers, there are challenges. While Miller calls the measure 2.0 and says it is based on modifications and combined ideas based on previous efforts, it is not getting early approval from Canterbury Park.

The sports betting proposal doesn’t allow racetracks to hold a license.

We believe that both tracks and tribes should have full sports betting licenses,” said Canterbury spokesperson Jeff Maday. “The market is mature enough for all of us to succeed. We just want that opportunity.”

Miller said a bill giving racetracks licensing opportunities doesn’t have the votes to pass.

The Senate and House meet in regular session for 120 days in the two-year term. Minnesota is the only state in the region without a legal sports betting option.

Thirty-eight states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have legalized sports betting.