Minnesota lawmakers can’t get sports betting across the finish line

Feet tripping on wire
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Sports betting in Minnesota was still in play down to the wire, but it did not pass before the end of the legislative session this weekend.

While the state did not manage to reach an agreement, a lawmaker who has pushed for a sports betting bill that would grant pro teams and tribes licenses to operate has high hopes for 2025. Rep. Zach Stephenson issued the following update on Twitter on Sunday:

Sports betting was just one piece of several moving parts related to gaming this legislative session. Another bill, sponsored by Stephenson, that explicitly prohibits historical horse racing at state tracks did pass before the legislature concluded for the year.

The bill came as a response to a decision by the Minnesota Gaming Commission to greenlight HHR machines at Runnings Aces and Canterbury Park. When the bill was debated at the committee level, lawmakers disagreed over whether this bill or a legal challenge from The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in the courts was the best way to debate the legality of the commission’s decision. In the end, Stephenson’s bill did pass through the House by a vote of 71-58 on Saturday, then passed in the Senate by a vote of 36-25 on Sunday.

Historical horse racing as well as expanded table games at the state’s cardrooms are both bargaining chips along with sports betting as the various interested parties pick up negotiations next year.