Senate committee in Minnesota considers new sports betting bill

Minnesota Sports Betting
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A new measure is being introduced in Minnesota to bring online sports betting to the state.

On Thursday, Sen. John Marty introduced Senate Bill 5330, a measure that proposes the authorization of online wagering in Minnesota. The bill has undergone its first reading and is being referred to the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.

SB 5330 allows the Minnesota Gambling Control Board to award up to 11 online sports betting licenses, which are valid for 20 years. The licenses, which require a background check for operators, are to be tied to a tribe in the state that conducts class III gaming at brick-and-mortar casinos. Each tribe in Minnesota is only allowed to have a one license.

If signed into law, SB 5330 permits patrons at least 21 years of age to wager on sports but within certain geographical areas. It bans wagering within elementary or secondary school buildings or on college campuses with operators required to set up geofences.

In-game wagering, like many other proposed bills in the state, is banned under SB 5330.

Revenue distribution for SB 5330

SB 5330 calls for 50% of revenue from sports wagering to be directed to the state’s Commissioner of Human Services, which will allocate the proceeds to a compulsive gambling treatment program. Another portion of revenue, 25%, will be deposited into Minnesota’s general fund with the remaining 25% given to the Commissioner of Education for grants to support mental health services and addiction prevention in public schools.

SB 5330 adds to current legislative attempts to authorize sports betting in Minnesota.

Lawmakers in the Gopher State have also introduced Senate Bill 1949 and House Bill 2000, which provide frameworks for sports betting and fantasy contests. As of April 4, SB 1949 has been referred to the Finance Committee, while HB 2000 sits in the Taxes Committee.

Removal of historical horse racing in Minnesota

A caveat of SB 5330 is its prohibition of historical horse racing. The barring of historical horse racing in SB 5330 comes after the Minnesota Racing Commission voted 5-1 in favor of approving horse wagering machines at Canterbury Park and Running Aces. Canterbury Park, which offers thoroughbred racing, is set to host at least 500 machines.

The facility is projected to raise $5.5 million in purse subsidies from the machines. Since 2022, Canterbury Park has seen a 21% drop in purses and a 42% decline in wagering.

The approval of machines at tracks is being met with tribal opposition from the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (SMSC). The MIGA and SMSC believe the approval is a “violation of legislative authority.”

SB 5330 will be receiving further consideration ahead of the end of Minnesota’s legislative session on May 20. The measure will need to be approved by the State and Local Government and Veterans Committee before moving to the full Senate floor. If passed in both the committee and full Senate, SB 5330 will then be considered by the House.