New sports betting bill gives Minnesota tribes control

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — The main sponsor of a House bill to legalize sports betting in Minnesota said Monday he was confident the state’s Native American tribes would drop their longstanding opposition and let it go. become law because it would give them control.

Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson, of Coon Rapids, said he had met in recent months with leaders of Minnesota’s 11 Ojibwe and Dakota groups to develop a “Minnesota-specific model,” and would go no further. now unless he is comfortable. that they will support him in the end. The bill will get its first committee hearing on Tuesday.

“If this bill passes, Minnesotans will be able to visit sports betting parlors at casinos across Minnesota, and they will also be able to bet on sports from their own cell phones anywhere in the state,” Stephenson said during of a press conference.

Opposition from tribal governments that depend on casinos for much of their revenue has stalled efforts in the past to legalize sports betting in Minnesota. But the bill by Stephenson and Republican Representative Pat Garofalo of Farmington would leave most of the benefits in the hands of the tribes.

Garofalo said the approach will take Minnesota “from the black market of unregulated activity to a regulated market with consumer transparency, consumer protection, as well as the financing of organized crime and money laundering.” .

Stephenson said the tribes would keep all betting profits in their casinos and would keep about 5% of the total amounts wagered on mobile devices. They would be allowed to partner with commercial mobile betting platforms, such as FanDuel, DraftKings and MGM.

The state would only get a 10% cut in the net profits of the tribes on online betting. Stephenson estimated that this could amount to around $20 million per year, 40% of which would go to problem gambling programs; 40% to youth sports, especially in communities with high levels of youth crime; and 20% to regulate the new industry to protect consumers and ensure betting does not influence what happens on the playing field.

A statement from the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, which represents 10 tribal nations, was notable for not outright opposing the bill, but denying its approval until the details are worked out.

The group said it and its members “support the state’s efforts to allow sports betting both at tribal gaming properties and through online/mobile platforms and believe that tribes are best placed to offer this new market to state consumers”. He added that they “will follow state law and look forward to working with other stakeholders.”

Stephenson said the bill will need to be approved by at least six House committees alone. He will also have to pass the Senate, where he got a muted reaction from the chamber’s leading advocate for legalizing sports betting, GOP Sen. Roger Chamberlain, of Lino Lakes.

“I welcome Democrats to the table, and we will work together to craft legislation that can achieve this,” Chamberlain said in a statement. “However, the offer in its current form will not give the consumer a good product. We need to expand options so consumers have the best possible experience. »

Unlike Chamberlain’s bill, the state’s two racetracks would not get a share of the action.

Stephenson said he consulted with professional sports teams and colleges in the state, but said his bill would not allow them to run their own sports betting operations. He said the state’s tribes are the experts on how to properly regulate gambling and it makes sense to start with them.

Comments are closed.