Jan 4, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
- Rep. Zack Stephenson’s sports betting bill has advanced to another committee
- Minnesota Indian Gaming Association Executive Director testified in favor of the bill
- A state horse track representative asked tracks to be included in the legislation
The Minnesota House Commerce, Finance, and Policy Committee gave the go-ahead to Minnesota sports betting bill HF 2000, advancing the tribal exclusive piece of legislation to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law committee.
Minnesota Rep. Zack Stephenson’s (DFL-Coon Rapids) bill, HF 2000, seeks to legalize retail and online sports betting in the state. The legislation gives Minnesota tribes sports betting exclusivity, allowing each tribe to have a retail sportsbook location and one digital skin to offer online sports betting.
This is the second year in a row that Stephenson has floated a bill to legalize retail and online sports betting in the state and grant exclusivity to Minnesota tribes.
The committee advanced the bill by a vote of 10-6. The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee next meets on Thursday, March 2, at 8:30 a.m.
House Committee Hears Sports Betting Testimony
The Stephenson chaired committee listened to numerous pieces of testimony Monday afternoon in opposition and support of the sports betting bill. Andy Plato, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA), spoke on behalf of the nine-tribe organization and its support of the bill.
“Were HF 2000 to become law, MIGA tribes believe the resulting mobile and retail markets operated by Minnesota tribal nations would not only support tribes, but would also provide well-regulated and accessible options for the state’s sports bettors and a competitive market that is important to our state’s professional sports team and market partners,” Plato said.
The legislation will allow each of the 11 Minnesota tribes to be granted a sports betting license. Each tribe will be able to partner with an operator to run their sports betting services.
- Fond du Lac Band
- Grand Portage Band
- Mille Lacs Band
- White Earth Band
- Bois Forte Band
- Leech Lake Band
- Red Lake Nation
- Upper Sioux Community
- Lower Sioux Indian Community
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
- Prairie Island Indian Community
The state’s two licensed horse tracks will have no part in sports betting if the bill is approved. Randy Sampson, Chairman and CEO of Canterbury Park, testified on behalf of the track and asked for the state’s track interests to be included in any piece of sports betting legislation.
“We feel strongly that any effort to add sports betting to the gaming options in Minnesota needs to include input from the tracks, as well as the tribal governments and sports teams,” he said.
While Minnesota sports teams would not be able to offer sports betting in this legislation, the franchises have publicly supported the bill.
“This bill is supported by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and it’s also supported by Minnesota’s professional sports teams…I want to thank them both and really commend the hard work they’ve put in to reach an agreement. It’s remarkable whenever you have a large group of different corporate organizations come together in an agreement and a large group of sovereign tribal nations come to an agreement, but the fact that they were also able to agree with each other really speaks to the collaborative spirit and the hard work they’ve put into this,” Stephenson previously said in his introductory press conference of the bill.
Senate Bill Still to Be Heard
The legislation has competition, as earlier this month Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-28) introduced the “Minnesota Sports Betting Act.” The bill seeks to legalize online and retail sports betting for each of the state’s 11 indigenous tribes, two horse racing tracks, and each professional sports team.
The bill has yet to be heard in a committee.
Miller’s proposal differs mainly from Stephenson’s sports betting legislation in that it will not grant Minnesota tribes sports betting exclusivity. The Minnesota Sports Betting Act will grant the state’s 11 tribes the ability to offer in-person sports betting at tribal casinos, but will also grant the state’s two horse racing tracks and each Minnesota professional sports teams the ability to do the same at their facilities.
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