Minnesota Lawmaker Introduces ‘2.0 Version’ Of Sports Betting Bill

Written By Phil West on January 22, 2024
Photo of Minnesota state senator Jeremy Miller on a story about his proposed sports betting legislation in the state.

After narrowly missing out on an effort to deliver sports betting to his Minnesota constituents, state Sen. Jeremy Miller is making another attempt this legislative session. 

If it passes, Minnesota would join 38 other states in allowing legal sports betting. 

Miller said he has learned lessons from the failed effort last year. He has integrated new elements into the 2024 attempt. 

Bill calls for a 15% tax on sports betting

Miller told CBS Minnesota that he’s optimistic a sports betting bill will get passed this year.

“This updated proposal combines ideas from my original Minnesota Sports Betting Act along with provisions from other sports betting bills that were introduced last session. The goal of this proposal is to bring folks together to work toward a bipartisan solution to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. I strongly believe we can get it done this year.”

The new bill, dubbed the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0, features a few key elements Miller hopes the Legislature will endorse this session. According to CBS Minnesota, those include: 

  • Licensing opportunities for Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations to offer retail and mobile sports betting. Those license-holders would also have the option to operate retail betting on the premises of horse racing tracks or professional sports stadiums in Minnesota, pursuant to a partnership agreement with the track operator or sports team to whom the facility pertains.
  • A 15% tax rate on sports betting revenue, broadly in line with the national average.
  • Tax proceeds would provide charitable gaming tax relief for local charities, attract major sporting events to the state, boost horse racing, provide problem gambling resources, support youth sports, and facilitate athlete education programs.
  • Restoring some of the controversial charitable gaming options that were eliminated by the 2023 tax bill, including free plays and bonus games on electronic pull-tabs.

Racetracks want bigger slice of sports betting pie

The bill is already facing some opposition from operators of the two racetracks in the state, Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces in Columbus. Canterbury Park spokesperson Jeff Maday told KMSP-TV (Fox 9) the track is seeking changes to the legislation. 

“We believe that both tracks and tribes should have full sports betting licenses. The market is mature enough for all of us to succeed. We just want that opportunity.”

CBS Minnesota reported that there was pushback on that last year.

“In last year’s session, Sen. Matt Klein introduced an amendment to legislation that would have given the state’s horse racing tracks a slice of the sports gambling revenue, since they were left out of the deal to operate sportsbooks, calling it a ‘best faith effort’ to accommodate them. Their participation in a sports gambling market was considered a sticking point for some Republicans.” 

Four neighboring states have legal sports betting

Four neighboring states to the Land of 10,000 Lakes – North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin – offer legal sports gambling. In the Dakotas, however, bets must be made in casinos or on Native American land. 

A Star Tribune article on the forthcoming legislative efforts notes that sports betting already has a presence in the state.

“Sports betting already has a growing presence in the Minnesota sports scene. An ad for a sports betting-focused casino is painted on the Target Center floor. It took all of two minutes into a Twins playoff broadcast this fall for the TV announcer to promote a sportsbook website, and a blitz of gambling company commercials hit Vikings game viewers every weekend this season.”

That article also estimated that Minnesota sports betting could generate $40 million in annual tax revenue. Iowa, by comparison, generates about $13 million in taxes annually from $2.2 billion in bets made in that state. 

Photo by Steve Karnowski/AP
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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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