Two Senators Jump Onboard As Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Sponsors

Written By Adam Hensley on February 21, 2024 - Last Updated on February 22, 2024
A picture of a person in a suit signing legislation

Earlier this week, two new senators appeared on a bill pushing for legal Minnesota sports betting.

On Monday, Republican senators Eric Pratt and Julia Coleman were added as authors to Senate Bill 3803, otherwise known as the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0.

Sen. Jeremy Miller filed the bill last week on Feb. 15.

Sports betting has been a growing topic of conversation in Minnesota. There’s definitely interest, as more than 4,000 Minnesota residents attempted to wager on the Super Bowl earlier this month without luck.

Here’s a closer look at Pratt, Coleman and the bill itself.

What to know about Senators Eric Pratt and Julia Coleman

Pratt currently serves the people of Scott County. Last week, Pratt posted a Facebook video outlining things he’s working on and pushing for this year.

In that video, Pratt highlighted sports betting as one of his goals among the legislature’s focal points for 2024.

“I’d like to see us pass reasonable sports betting this year,” he said in the clip. “Coming off the Super Bowl, it would have been great for both Canterbury and Mystic to be able to take bets on that contest. And it would have created a huge amount of excitement in Scott County. We get 10 million visitors a year coming down to visit our facilities, and we should be offering this because every one of our neighboring states offers it.”

Meanwhile, Coleman isn’t a stranger in the push for sports betting, either.

Almost exactly two years ago today, Coleman, a Republican serving a portion of Carver County, joined a group of Minnesota senators aiming to legalize the industry.

“This proposal aligns Minnesota with our neighboring states, who have already successfully created a leagal option,” she said at the time. “Legalizing sports betting has Minnesota catching up the competition and provides a safe and legal structure for people to participate in sports.”

Minnesota is surrounded by sports betting

Pratt and Coleman want to see Minnesota take a page from neighboring states’ books. Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota offer legal sports betting.

Iowa and Wisconsin offer online wagers for their residents. Still, customers living in North Dakota and South Dakota must place their bets at a physical casino or on Native American land.

Sports betting generates plenty of tax dollars for each of those states. An article in the Star Tribune estimated that Minnesota could see nearly $40 million in annual tax revenue due to legal sports betting.

Miller, the original author of Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, said he’s “feeling pretty optimistic” that it will pass this year.

Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0 details

Where sports betting becomes tricky in Minnesota is the different parties involved because both tribal and commercial gaming interests have stakes in the matter.

Each state is different regarding who oversees their respective sports betting industries. For instance, in the neighboring state of Iowa, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is the governing body.

But Minnesota’s Native American tribes will certainly play a pivotal role in legalization. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, which is made up of nine tribes, said that it won’t support any legal sports betting without tribal exclusivity.

Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0 would give the tribes most of what they want. It would give the state’s tribes the option to offer retail and mobile sports betting. But racetracks, which double as cardrooms, could operate brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

The act also outlines a 15% tax rate on sports betting revenue. Tax dollars would go toward charitable gaming tax relief in local communities, help attract major events to Minnesota, increase the state’s problem gambling resource fund, support horse racing and youth sports and help facilitate athlete educational programs.

Miller’s legislation has tribal support

In turn, MIGA supports the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, which is a great sign for residents eager to wager.

“The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association supports state efforts to authorize sports wagering both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms,” MIGA Executive Director Andy Platto told KARE-TV last week. “Tribes are best positioned to provide this new offering to the state’s consumers. MIGA and its members will be closely following the progress of state legislation and look forward to working with other stakeholders to develop an approach that benefits Minnesotans while protecting the Indian gaming operations that tribal and rural communities rely on for jobs and economic health.”

Should the bill advance to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk, he said he’d sign it.

Photo by PlayMinnesota
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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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