Minnesota Debates Legal Sports Betting
Minnesota is currently debating whether to legalize sports betting, as it is an outlier in the region with all neighboring states allowing gambling on sporting events. However, the issue that has bedeviled other states has come up: should tribal casinos be the only places through which bettors can wager on games? Democrats want sports betting only in the state’s 19 tribal casinos, citing the economic support that casinos provide the state’s 11 tribal sovereign nations, while Republicans argue that two metro area horse racing tracks, professional sports teams, and major sporting events should be allowed to offer sports wagering. A bill proposed by Democratic state Rep. Zack Stephenson, which has the support of the tribes and the state’s professional sports franchises, is the clear front-runner. His bill would authorize in-casino and mobile sports gambling and tribes would be licensed to open sports books, and offer mobile app betting likely through a national sports gambling company such as FanDuel or DraftKings. The state has no commercial (non-tribal) casinos. Stephenson said his bill would create a legal marketplace that would displace the illicit market, and provide consumer protection while ensuring the integrity of the game and limiting money laundering and other illegal activity.