Analysts Cite Minnesota Gridlock For Dip In Online Sports Betting Projections

Written By Adam Hensley on June 26, 2024 - Last Updated on June 27, 2024
A graph representing a forecast's decline

Gambling analysts have altered their online sports betting projections, and Minnesota is partly to blame.

In its newsletter last week, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) stated that it is cutting its projections by half.

Previously, the group said it expected two states to legalize online sports betting per year over the next five years. Now, EKG says the country will see roughly one state legalize online sports wagering each year over that same span.

Legal landscapes in Minnesota and Georgia are two of the biggest reasons for the shift.

“Hard-fought and ultimately unsuccessful legalization pushes in multiple key states this spring, including Georgia and Minnesota, leads us to the inescapable conclusion that legislation in the last handful of states is tougher than we previously projected,” EKG wrote in its newsletter.

“Each state has its own unique opposition and reasons for stalling, but online gambling’s worsening reputation on the national scale is undoubtedly having an impact in our view.”

Minnesota has concerns about online sports betting

As the EKG newsletter stated, states across the country are cautious when it comes to legalizing online sports betting due to the responsible gaming aspect.

And Minnesota is one of those states.

A handful of Lawmakers told the Star Tribune that they felt as though the efforts to legalize a Minnesota sports betting industry this year were rushed.

Proponents of the issue are on the record of saying they wish they had more time. For instance, Rep. Pat Garofalo told the MinnPost that if they had “another 48 hours,” he felt as though they could have found a compromise.

But opponents don’t feel the same.

Those who spoke with the Star Tribune noted that they wanted to slow things down and look at what other states are doing today. Minnesota Catholic Conference Executive Director Jason Adkings, Sen. Eric Maye Quade and Sen. John Marty all told the outlet that they believe other states have regrets on how they legalized sports betting and are now looking to adust their approach. The state does not want to be in a similar position in five years.

Minnesota sports betting efforts did highlight responsible gambling, but more work needed

Marty was one of the senators to file a sports betting bill. However, he allocated significant tax dollars toward problem gambling treatment. Senate File 5330 would have also banned in-game betting and placed dollar limits on players.

Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling Executive Director Susan Sheridan Tucker told PlayMinnesota that this was a big step in the right direction.

She also echoed the same sentiment as Marty and the other figures. Sheridan Tucker stressed that other states are reconsidering their approach to sports betting.

“I think a number of states are already reconsidering what their initial bills were. This was rushed – very rushed – when the ban was listed in 2018. Statehouses were filled with lobbyists looking to pass sports betting. I think, in my mind, there wasn’t enough diligence and prudence in taking the time to understand what this was going to do to the gambling landscape. I think so many people still don’t understand, or accept, that gambling is a real addiction.”

Balancing act of Native American Tribes, racetracks tough

In addition to responsible gambling concerns, lawmakers are walking a balancing act to keep both commercial and tribal gaming entities happy.

Florida is a prime example of how Native American tribes can have a hand in operating online sports betting. The Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a compact with Gov. Ron DeSantis that gave the tribes exclusive control over the online sports betting market. Perhaps Minnesota could take a similar approach down the line.

Minnesota’s two horse racetracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces, want a slice of the sports betting pie as well. In most other states with legal betting markets, racetracks can operate sportsbooks.

But none of the legislation put forth by lawmakers gave the tracks any market share. As a result, the tracks didn’t support any of those previous bills.

Until some compromise can be reached, sports betting’s future in Minnesota remains unclear.

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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