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Minnesota to Push for Sports Betting at Tribal Casinos, Online

Minnesota Minnesota to Push for Sports Betting at Tribal Casinos, Online
Feb 16, 2022 20:02Tim Ronaldson

Minnesota legislators are pushing for legalized sports betting once again, as the state Senate is putting forth a new bill that would legalize the practice at both tribal horse racing tracks and casinos and online.

The state Senate will soon introduce a new bill that would allow in-person sports betting and online gaming operators that the tribes would oversee. The bill was crafted on a bipartisan basis, giving it hope of actually passing through the Senate and eventually being signed into law.

Despite this, though, there is likely to be a lot of opposition, and not just from activists who don’t like gambling. Many believe that some of Minnesota’s tribes may object to the deal being put forward.

Minnesotans Seek to Keep Up with the Region

One of the biggest reasons why Minnesota legislators are pushing for legalized sports betting in their state is because every one of their neighbors already offers it.

Sports betting is legal in some form in every state that borders Minnesota — North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan and Iowa. It’s particularly popular for people who live in Minnesota to travel to Iowa to bet on sports. That state brought in a total of $2 billion in sports wagers in 2021, the American Gaming Association said, and at least some of that came from Minnesota residents.

As Republican state Senator Julia Coleman explained to local newspaper the StarTribune:

“This is something that people in Minnesota want to see happen — that they’re, quite frankly, traveling across the border to make happen. This is a win-win scenario for the people of Minnesota and for the state of Minnesota.”

Opposition is Likely to Come

In just about every case of a state pushing to legalize sports gambling, there have been groups that have opposed the move. Advocacy groups are commonly worried about problem gambling and the downfalls it presents, fairness in professional and collegiate sports, religion and other reasons.

In Minnesota, though, it’s likely that even some of the groups that would benefit from the legalization of sports betting might oppose the move.

There are 11 federally recognized tribes in Minnesota, and the state has 22 gaming compacts with them.

At the outset, it seems like legislators in Minnesota are going to confer with the various tribe leaders to come to an agreement that everyone agrees would work for them. That’s what happened in other states such as Connecticut and Florida.

It’s also possible, though, that the tribes don’t agree with the proposal Minnesota’s state government is pushing for. And if that’s the case, the state has two choices — continue to negotiate, or try to legalize sports gambling without their input.

One of the sponsors of the bill, state Senator Roger Chamberlain, told the StarTribune that legalized sports gambling in Minnesota would likely take new gaming compacts so that the practice can actually happen on land the tribes own.

At the same time, he also raised the possibility that Minnesota could do it on their own, without any tribal buy-in. As he said of the tribes:

“I want to protect their interests — we’re going to negotiate with them. But, I’ve said this more than once: In the reality of things, we do not need the tribes to do this.”

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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