New Sponsor Signs On To Minnesota House Sports Betting Bill

Written By Adam Hensley on April 9, 2024
Nick Frentz

Before the calendar turned to April, a Minnesota sports betting bill added an unlikely sponsor: Sen. Nick A. Frentz.

Originally sponsored by Sen. Zack Stephenson, House File 2000 would legalize both daily fantasy sports and traditional sports betting in Minnesota.

It’s a tribe-centric bill, as only the state’s 11 Native American tribes could offer online and retail sports betting. HF 2000 sets a 10% tax on sports betting net revenue.

Here’s a closer look at the bill’s newest sponsor and where it stands going forward.

Frentz was neutral on sports betting in the past

Efforts to legalize Minnesota sports betting began five years ago in the Legislature. Bills have been submitted yearly since 2019, but none have gained traction. Stephenson has fashioned HF 2000 to address most of the concerns lawmakers have had with previous measures.

Frentz, a Democrat, serves District 19 in the Minnesota State Senate. In 2022, Frentz shared his thoughts on sports betting with Your Legislatures.

During the broadcast, he was asked what he thought about sports betting in general. Frentz appeared to have a middle-of-the-road stance.

“I think I can support it, but not if it gets jammed down someone’s throat. It would have to be part of a group effort where there’s peace in the valley. There’s concerns that we have in the same way we have concerns about legalizing recreational marijuana. There have been points made by my fellow legislators about some of the downsides, and I see those. I also agree that the revenue should not be the main focus. We want to have high quality of life.”

A year before the Your Legislators conversation aired, a user on X shared an email response they received from Frentz on the topic.

“I am more ‘neutral’ on the issue but may be moved to a ‘yes’ vote with continued constituent advocacy for the issue. … We have seen in other states where a portion of the taxes on sports gambling goes to services to help those who end up with addictions, so I would like to see that part of the solution if passed.”

– Jerad Tibbetts (@23jtmoney) February 3, 2021

HF 2000 does indeed propose funding to combat problem gambling.

HF 2000 currently in Taxes Committee

HF 2000 is the only sports betting bill currently in the House. Last week, it passed through the Minnesota House Commerce and Policy Committee.

Stephenson and Rep. Anne Brindley went back and forth during the meeting on a number of topics. But one that struck a rather contentious point concerned the equal distribution of profits from legal sports betting.

Brindley questioned whether or not Stephenson’s bill would benefit all tribes or just a few. She pointed out that DraftKings and FanDuel generally dominate sports betting markets in other states, so the tribes that partner with them will get the bulk of the revenue.

“Have you considered that (profit-sharing) as a way to ensure some equity and fairness among the tribes to ensure that they’re not left out by not having one of those couple vendors?”

Stephenson chuckled out a response.

“I am tickled to hear a Republican concerned about income disparity.”

At this time, HF 2000 awaits a vote in the House Taxes Committee. The legislative session doesn’t end until May 20, so there’s still time for lawmakers to work out compromises.

Two other Minnesota sports betting bills are still alive in the Senate, Senate File 5330 and Senate File 1949.

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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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