Sports Betting Bill Advances In Minnesota, But Fate Uncertain

Sports betting advanced through the Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, but the lack of movement in the Senate means it’s far from certain sports betting will be legalized during this legislative session. 

The House measure passed with a vote of 70-57. The bill would allow Minnesota residents to place bets online and at retail locations. 

Rep. Zack Stephenson, the bill sponsor, worked with the state’s 11 tribes to garner support. Gov. Tim Walz, pictured, has stated he would not sign a sports wagering bill without the the tribes’ endorsement. 

Tax revenue from sports betting would go towards gambling addiction programs, gambling law enforcement and youth sports programs. 

“This is an issue whose time has come,” Stephenson said during Thursday’s session. “Minnesotans want us to have this conversation. They want this to be legal.”

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In-Person Registration Not Required

Numerous amendments were added to the bill, including a ban on allowing mobile apps to send push notifications to devices, a ban on ads targeting individuals under 21 years old and an increase in the state-funded problem counseling time from 12 to 60 hours. 

An amendment to require bettors to register in-person for an online sports wagering account at a brick-and-mortar or tribal casino was denied, meaning remote registration would be permitted under the bill.

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Sports Wagering Stalls In Senate

Despite progress in the House, the Senate remains an obstacle before sports betting is legalized in Minnesota. With only two weeks remaining in the legislative session, the Senate has yet to hold a hearing on its sports betting bill. 

The Senate bill also would allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and allow the tribes to oversee the online sports wagering market. Under the Senate Bill, the two Horse race betting tracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces, would be eligible to accept bets. 

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller delivered some cautious optimism while discussing the possibility of passing sports betting in the Senate. 

“Sports betting is still a work in progress,” Miller said. “If the stakeholders come together and try to find some common ground where there are opportunities available at the tribal casinos as wells as the tracks, and perhaps if there’s something we can do to help benefit our charities, I think an agreement could still get done this session. But we’re running out of time for that to happen.”

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