2023 House MN Sports Betting Bill Re-Emerges With Hearing Thursday

Written By Phil West on February 21, 2024 - Last Updated on February 22, 2024
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A sports betting bill introduced last year is back up for reconsideration.

A House bill that would legalize Minnesota sports betting cleared a general floor vote in 2023. It’s back this year and goes in front of the House Human Services Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 22.

HF 2000 is one of three sports betting bills before lawmakers in 2024.

Much of the attention around sports betting during the 2024 legislative session is around SF 3803. The bill was filed by Sen. Jeremy Miller and is known informally as the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0.

If passed, Miller’s legislation would allow the state’s 11 federally recognized tribes to operate online sportsbooks. Racetracks could operate retail sportsbooks.

That bill was introduced last Thursday and is awaiting action from the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.

The third sports betting bill in the legislature, SF 1949, was also introduced last year. It was withdrawn this week and re-referred to the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

Stephenson’s House bill failed in the Senate the last two years

Despite failed efforts in the past, proponents of Minnesota sports betting are optimistic that wagering on sports will be made legal this year.

Rep. Zack Stephenson was the initial primary sponsor of the HB 2000, with eight other Democrats and a Republican colleague joining in sponsorship. According to the Minnesota House website, the bill cleared its initial hurdle in the prior session. At the time, Stephenson said Minnesota was falling behind neighboring states,

“Minnesotans deserve the same opportunity that all of our neighbors have to bet in a legal, safe marketplace with consumer protections.”

It was Stephenson’s second attempt at such a bill, with a 2022 version passing the House but failing to advance in the Senate.

The climate may be more friendly to a sports gambling bill this time. Gov. Tim Walz went on record saying he would sign a bill should both chambers be able to meet “all those constituency needs” between the tribes and the racetracks.

Bill contains safeguards and a 10% tax

According to the House website, the bill includes a 10% tax. The revenue would be used to implement safeguards for problem bettors.

“Any wager placed on tribal land would not be subject to state taxation, but net revenue from online and mobile betting would be taxed at 10%, with proceeds going into a special fund. It is expected that $4.1 million is to be transferred annually to the public safety and revenue departments for licensing and law enforcement.

“The remainder would be split evenly between supporting amateur youth sports programs and funding problem gambling treatment programs managed by the Department of Human Services. In addition, the bill has safeguards designed to ensure a level playing field for all bettors, such as prohibiting participants in a sporting event — or someone with “nonpublic information” about a sporting event – from wagering on that event’s outcome.”

Miller brimming with optimism at this year’s chances

Heading into this current legislative session, sports betting was a focal point. Proponents of Minnesota sports betting know the lack of bipartisan support thwarted last year’s efforts.

As a result, the new bill focuses on appeasing all of the state’s interested parties. The legislation gives tribes exclusivity over the online betting market, but racetracks and professional sports stadiums could operate retail sportsbooks.

Miller feels confident that Minnesota will join the 38 other states with legal sports betting.

“I’m feeling pretty optimistic. Minnesotans are already betting on sports. They’re just doing it in other states or they’re doing it illegally, so now is the time to get it done so we can regulate the market as well as help generate some sales tax revenue.”

Photo by PlayMinnesota
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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