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Sports Betting – Minnesota


Minnesota sports betting is not legal.

Odds improved ever so slightly on May 3, 2023 for Minnesota’s prospects for joining neighboring states in legalizing sports gambling.

Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, offered an amendment to his legalization bill that would aid the state’s two horse-racing tracks, which were left out of the initial bill. Klein called the amendment a “best faith effort to accommodate horse tracks.”

Under his plan, sports gambling would be taxed at 10% with 30% of that going to an economic development fund for the tracks capped at $20 million. After that initial infusion, the two tracks would split $3 million annually.

Klein was resolutely upbeat despite the Legislature’s impending adjournment May 22. “If people are motivated to get something done, they will,” he said.

As he has said before, the senator said Minnesotans want sports gambling and the Legislature’s job is to provide guardrails to make it safer. Klein’s amendment would allow only the state’s 11 tribes to obtain sports betting licenses. The tribes already have exclusive rights to casino gambling.

Klein and Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, introduced a bill in late February. Back then, the two lawmakers were optimistic, but Republicans didn’t like the bill without money for tracks, and the proposal languished. They’re still not warm to it.

“There’s not going to be an agreement on this unless the tracks, the teams, and the tribes are at the table and negotiate a compromise,” said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington.

It’s the second year in a row where legal sports betting appeared to have good odds of making it to the governor’s desk, but disagreements over whether Minnesota’s two horse racing tracks should be in on the action have thrown a wrench into the process.

With support from six professional sports teams and the tribal gaming association, backers of legal sports betting in Minnesota had reason to be optimistic at the start of this legislative session. Hopefully, some progress can be made in 2023.

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