Minnesota Sports Betting

A picture of the Minnesota Capitol

There was hope near the end of the 2024 legislative session that Minnesota sports betting might be legalized thanks to a late-brokered deal among lawmakers. Alas, partisan fighting over how the bills were negotiated led to an impasse, and despite many legislators favoring it, sports betting failed once again. 

Those on both sides of the sports betting debate have been clashing over several issues, including in-play betting and the role of the state’s horse racing tracks. Both the state’s Native American tribes and charitable gaming groups supported the legislation, but the tracks’ desire also to earn revenue via gambling expansion along with other factors has effectively halted sports betting’s forward momentum.

Here we provide a full rundown of the current situation as well as the possible future for sports betting in Minnesota. Also find below information about alternative options that you can use in Minnesota right now, including social sportsbooks and fantasy sports apps.

Current status of Minnesota sports betting legislation

Two sports betting bills introduced in 2024 received serious consideration from lawmakers. Both Rep. Zack Stephenson’s HF 2000 and the companion SF 1949 bill introduced by Sen. Matt Klein and Sen. Fuong Hawj would have authorized both retail and online sports betting in Minnesota. But both bills failed to pass through their respective committees by the April 19 deadline, meaning neither would have a chance to be heard before the House or Senate prior to the end of the 2024 legislative session. 

The end zone at U.S. Bank Stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play
The end zone is still some distance away for legal sports betting in Minnesota (CK Foto / Shutterstock.com)

One other Senate bill was filed by Sen. Jeremy Miller, SF 3803, also known as the Minnesota Sports Betting Act 2.0. However, Miller let his bill go in favor of supporting Sen. Klein’s bill which ultimately failed.

In early April, the Minnesota Racing Commission voted to allow historical horse racing machines (HHR) at the state’s two tracks. That move ran counter to one of the sports betting bills, HF 2000, that explicitly prohibited HHR machines. A couple of days later, the House Taxes Committee held an informational-only hearing to discuss HF 2000. Topics discussed included those HHR machines, the disbursement of sports betting revenue among Minnesota’s tribes, and recent amendments added to the bill by another House committee.

The following week, HF 2000 author Rep. Zack Stephenson introduced a separate bill to prohibit HHR machines. That bill subsequently received a hearing in the House Commerce Committee who passed it by a 7-5 margin. Meanwhile, the racetracks filed a federal lawsuit against the state’s tribes claiming they are offering games that go beyond what is allowed in their tribal-state compacts.

The gambling-related conflicts between the tracks and tribes and the ongoing debates over HHR machines are both helping to stall progress when it comes to legalizing sports betting in Minnesota. So are the already present oppositions between sports betting proponents and those desiring to prevent Minnesota from joining the growing number of states with legal sports betting. In any case, Minnesota will have to wait at least another year before the prospect of sports betting legalization returns.

Is sports betting legal in Minnesota?

As discussed above, sports betting has not yet been legalized in Minnesota. That makes the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” an outlier, as more than two-thirds of US states and the District of Columbia have now legalized some form of sports wagering.

The first Minnesota sports betting bills were introduced in 2019. However, the state’s Native American tribes opposed those efforts. The tribes run 38 casinos across Minnesota, and they argued that legal sports betting would threaten the revenue on which they depend for essential services. Both bills failed to gain the requisite support by the time the legislative session ended in May 2020.

Five more sports betting bills were filed in 2021, but none received a hearing. In 2022, Rep. Zack Stephenson introduced a new sports wagering bill, which would have given the tribes exclusive control over the industry. The tribes supported the bill, and it advanced through the House. However, the Senate added an amendment to include two horse racing tracks, which proved to be a deal-breaker for the House.

Rep. Stephenson, DFL for Anoka, and Coon Rapids, then mounted a renewed attempt to bring legal sports betting to Minnesota in 2023, but it suffered the same fate. Stephenson tried again in 2024 with a new bill, with colleagues from the Senate also introducing a companion bill in their chamber. But those bills each died in committee, meaning another legislative session would pass without Minnesota legalizing sports betting.

Steps to legalizing sports betting in Minnesota

We can provide a bit more detail regarding the current impasse preventing Minnesota sports betting legislation from advancing.

Rep. Stephenson’s vision for legal online sports betting in Minnesota would hand the state’s tribes exclusive control over the market. Many DFL colleagues have backed the plan, but there has been some resistance within the party. As such, Rep. Stephenson needs to gain Republican cooperation.

That has proved tricky, as the Republicans want the state’s horse racing tracks to share in the revenue. That does not sit well with the tribes, who want exclusivity. The opposing groups have been unable to thrash out their differences, and obviously they must do so if a sports betting bill is to advance.

There are other points of conflict have stymied sports betting legislation. For instance, during the 2024 debates over proposed legislation, Sen. Jordan Rasmusson added an amendment to SF 1949 that would prohibit live betting, an online sports betting restriction no other state has introduced. At the time, Rep. Pat Garofalo characterized that addition to the bill as a “poison pill,” and indeed it didn’t help matters.

This sticking point highlights the difficulties in bringing opposing factions together. Proponents of sports betting will need to gain bipartisan support, appease the tribes and the horse racing tracks, and assuage responsible gambling concerns among state senators. It’s a very delicate balancing act, and nobody has been able to come up with a satisfactory solution yet.

How to make online bets

As online sportsbooks are not legal in Minnesota, if you want to wager on sports in the state, you will need to find an alternative. You can use a social sportsbook like Fliff, take part in pick’em contests at Underdog Fantasy, or compete in daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests at DraftKings or FanDuel.

Follow these steps to get started:

  • Visit your chosen site and click the “Sign Up” button. Enter your email address and select a password. Provide your name, date of birth, address, phone number, and last four SSN digits.
  • Agree to the terms and complete the form. You may need to verify your account. If so, upload a scanned copy of your official photo ID, such as your driver’s license.
  • When your account is approved, head to the deposit page and make an initial payment. The minimum deposit is usually $10.
  • Open the App Store or Google Play Store and search for your chosen sportsbook or fantasy sports brand. Tap the install button and confirm the free download.
  • Return to your phone’s home screen and tap on the app when the download is complete. Use your password to sign in and begin playing.

Rules and limitations to Minnesota sports betting

  • Legal age: 18 for all gambling in Minnesota
  • Retail sportsbooks: None available yet
  • Mobile betting options: Social sportsbooks, fantasy apps (no real money online sportsbooks)
  • Geofencing: Turn on your phone’s location services if required
  • Remote registration: Not required in Minnesota
  • Taxes on winnings: You will need to pay state and federal income tax if you earn a profit from all gambling activities in a specific year. Your tax rate will depend upon your income bracket, as gambling profits are added to your other sources of income.

Betting alternatives in Minnesota

There are no legal sports betting options in Minnesota. However, there are some interesting alternatives at your disposal.

  • Fliff Sportsbook | This social sportsbook accepts the same bets—spreads, moneylines, totals, etc.—available at real money sportsbooks in other states. You can play for fun with Fliff Coins. The app also gives players free Fliff Cash, which can be redeemed for cash prizes if you complete a playthrough requirement.
  • Underdog Fantasy | This fantasy sports app allows you to take part in pick’em contests, which focus on player props. You can also compete in snake fantasy draft leagues and battle royale contests.
  • DraftKings Fantasy | This very popular DFS app offers comprehensive coverage of a large range of sports.
  • FanDuel Fantasy | DraftKings’ major rival, FanDuel provides a similar selection of DFS contests, covering NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, college football, college basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, and NASCAR.

College betting rules

You can take part in college football and college basketball contests at DraftKings and FanDuel in Minnesota. Fliff also covers NCAA football and basketball.

There have not been any attempts to remove college sports betting from the bills that are currently under consideration in Minnesota. However, some states prohibit prop bets on college sports, and others forbid betting on games featuring in-state teams, so Minnesota may decide to follow suit.

Legal sportsbooks in Minnesota

There are no legal sportsbooks in Minnesota right now. If online sports betting is legalized, it will be controlled by the state’s tribes and perhaps its horse racing tracks.

These organizations would be given master sports betting licenses, allowing them to host one or more online sportsbooks. We expect the country’s leading online sportsbooks to expand into Minnesota if given the chance. The leading candidates would be FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, and Fanatics.

Pros and cons of Minnesota sports betting

Pros ✅:
  • There are compelling alternatives to sports betting in Minnesota, including the Fliff social sportsbook and pick’em contests at Underdog and PrizePicks.
  • You can sign up with leading daily fantasy sports apps such as DraftKings and FanDuel in Minnesota.
  • There is a chance that Minnesota will legalize sports betting soon, provided the opposing factions can resolve their differences.
Cons ❌:
  • You cannot bet on sports in the traditional sense in Minnesota, as the state has not yet legalized online or in-person sports betting.
  • We do not know if or when Minnesota will legalize sports betting, as rival factions have been unable to agree to a compromise bill that suits all parties.
  • Minnesota may impose a ban on in-play sports betting, which accounts for half of all sports wagers placed in the United States.

Minnesota sports teams: odds and guides

Minnesota is home to six major professional sports teams. You will be able to bet on all of these teams if the state passes a sports wagering bill:

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Minnesota Lynx
  • Minnesota United

You should also find plenty of betting lines on games featuring the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the St. Thomas Tommies.

Other gambling options in the state

Various forms of gambling are legally available in Minnesota:

  • Casino: There are 38 tribal casinos in Minnesota, according to the American Gaming Association. They can offer slot machines and card games, but roulette and craps games are unavailable. Online casinos have not been legalized, but you can use social and sweepstakes casino sites in Minnesota.
  • Horse Racing: Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in Minnesota. You can place bets in person at racetracks, or you can use an online racebook, such as TwinSpires.
  • DFS: Minnesota has never prohibited DFS contests, so apps like FanDuel and DraftKings accept players based in the state.
  • Poker: There are land-based poker rooms at some tribal casinos in Minnesota, but online poker sites have not been legalized.

Responsible gaming in Minnesota

Minnesota does not have a legal sports betting industry, but there are still lots of opportunities to gamble. It is important to gamble responsibly, whether you play at a fantasy sports app or visit a tribal casino. Only play with money that you can afford to lose and practice moderation.

If you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. You can also visit the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling site, which provides responsible gambling tips and recovery stories. The site also offers information about the local support you can access. The helpline is 800-333-HOPE (4673).

FAQs

Despite the efforts of multiple lawmakers who proposed sports betting bills in 2024, no legislation has been able to advance. That means 2025 at the earliest for the next round of bills and debates and, if things go positively, the legalization of Minnesota sports betting.

DraftKings runs daily fantasy sports contests for players in Minnesota. The state has never explicitly permitted fantasy sports contests, but it has not outlawed them either, so DraftKings accepts DFS customers in Minnesota. However, online sports betting has not been legalized, so those in Minnesota cannot use DraftKings Sportsbook.

You can use a social sportsbook called Fliff, which offers markets such as spreads and totals on a wide range of sports. You can play for fun using Fliff Coins, and you can also redeem cash prizes if you earn free Fliff Cash and successfully play it through. Fantasy sports apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and Underdog are also available in Minnesota.

No, Minnesota does not currently permit in-person sports betting. There are 38 tribal casinos in the state, but they are unable to launch retail sports wagering lounges. If you want to bet on sports in person, you will need to visit a neighboring state, such as Iowa or Wisconsin.

You cannot place online sports wagers in Minnesota, but there are some interesting alternatives at your disposal. They include fantasy sports apps, social and sweepstakes casinos, social sportsbooks, and online racebooks. Most states now permit online sports betting, so Minnesota is likely to follow suit at some point.

Attempts to introduce a legal online sports betting market in Minnesota have failed to gain enough support from lawmakers. In the past, the state’s Native American tribes opposed plans to introduce online sportsbooks. They are now on board, but horse racing tracks have created additional obstacles, so it has been a challenging process.

FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Bet365, and Fanatics Sportsbook are among the sites likely to launch in Minnesota if the state legalizes online sports betting. They are the country’s leading online sportsbooks, and they are all available in a variety of states. We expect them to expand into Minnesota if given the opportunity.

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