Minnesota’s American Indian tribes will get exclusive sports gambling licenses, as Key Democrats announced on Tuesday. Sports betting will be allowed both at casinos that belong to tribes and on mobile devices.
However, it will be prohibited at the state’s racetracks, which Republicans don’t approve of.
Minnesota needs sports betting:
Matt Klein, the Senate sponsor at DFL-Mendota Heights, said: “Minnesotans are demanding sports betting really, and they are in many cases already accessing it on a black market. And much as with Sunday [liquor] sales a number of years ago, they often don’t understand why their wishes are being obstructed by government and creating inconveniences in their lives.”
However, there are still troubles in the Senate – Democrats don’t want to expand gambling further, and Republicans want to include two racetracks in the gambling offers. One of the Republicans, Pat Garafolo, said that he wouldn’t support the bill without Shakopee’s Canterbury Park. It wouldn’t be a huge problem, but potentially other Republicans won’t vote for it if Garafolo doesn’t support it.
He is also against in-person betting for customers who are 18 years old, claiming that users need to be 21 or older.
Each of the 11 Minnesota tribes will get the sports betting license, allowing them to make a deal with some mobile gambling platform providers such as FanDuel, DraftKings, or Caesars. The bill is supported by professional sports teams in the state, as well as by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA).
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting in 2018, and since then, more than 30 states have already allowed it.
Sports teams from Minnesota wrote a letter to announce their support for tribal exclusivity. The leaders of the Minnesota Lynx, Timberwolves, Twins, United, Vikings, and Wild signed that letter.
Dave St. Peter, a President of Twins, said that the teams and tribes have a great relationship that lasts long. The teams will also greatly benefit from the tribes’ exclusivity via advertising and fan engagement.
He continued: “They’re going to want to promote their sports betting platforms where the fans are at.”
Tax revenue increase:
However, DFLers think that sports betting won’t greatly increase the tax revenue, claiming that the revenue will be up to $12 million a year if the tax revenue remains 10%. However, that money will be used to cover the expenses of administering and regulating gambling.
When that is covered, 40% of the remaining revenue would be spent on solving problem gambling issues and another 40% on sports programs for young residents.
The spokespersons of both racetracks said they wanted to be included in the bill, claiming that, on the one hand, the future of racetracks depends on the sports betting regulation, and on the other hand, it can bring great benefits to the state.
However, many committees from both parties need to vote on the bill and approve it before any action is taken. After that, the floor votes will be available, but it isn’t expected to happen before April.