Home to the Minnesota Vikings and a population of 5.7 million, Minnesota is a state which has kept a traditional approach to gambling. Brick-and-mortar casinos are the leaders of the Minnesotan betting industry, unlike many states which have welcomed online gambling with open arms.
While retail gambling is popular in the North Star state, online casinos and sportsbooks have not yet been made legal. The state government has been able to establish legal online sports betting since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned in 2018. So far, the only form of online betting made available is horse racing.
But times are changing, and things are looking up for Minnesota! Following extensive talks with tribal councils, sporting companies, and professional sports teams, new legislation is being written to introduce online sportsbooks and casinos across the state. By the end of 2022, Minnesotans could be wagering on their favorite sports teams without needing to leave the couch!
Is Sports Betting Legal in Minnesota?
Despite its reputation as the State of Hockey, sports betting is not yet legal in Minnesota. Pari-mutuel horse race betting is allowed, but players who want to bet on any other sporting events will have to travel outside of Minnesota to do so.
All gambling in the state is regulated by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA). Native American Tribes also fund a large number of government schemes with the profits of their casinos. Because of the tribes’ powerful influence, as well as existing tribal-state compacts, gambling legislation can’t be passed without tribal agreement.
As of yet, tribes in Minnesota have not been convinced that the benefits of both tribal and commercial sports betting would outweigh the negatives. However, the wheels are in motion in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The House Commerce Committee has reignited discussions on future sports betting bills and so far, MIGA has not expressed its opposition. This is likely because this time around, tribal councils are being consulted on the bills’ language.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Minnesota?
Online casino gambling is not currently legal in Minnesota. In order to play, gamblers will need to visit one of the states’ 20 land-based casinos. Alternatively, players can bet at both online casinos and sportsbooks outside of Minnesota. As long as you are within state lines, you can play in the majority of states that allow online gambling even without being a resident.
Other types of gambling are available in Minnesota, although these are not online. Alongside the Minnesota Lottery, charitable gambling including pull-tabs, raffles, and bingo are all legal. Tribal gambling is also legal in land-based tribal casinos.
When Will Online Sportsbooks Be Made Legal?
Since the striking of PASPA, Minnesota lawmakers have attempted to introduce sports betting bills. Legislation tends to move slowly in the North Star state, but the primary roadblock to legalizing sportsbooks in the past has been opposition from the state’s tribes.
Although a formal bill has not been drafted yet, State Representative Zack Stephenson feels confident that the day is coming soon. Not only is the future looking good for retail sportsbooks, but Stephenson considers online betting to be “essential to the enterprise”.
What Are the Benefits of Making Online Sportsbooks Legal?
Legalizing online sportsbooks removes the possibility of geographical restrictions for gamblers. While retail sportsbooks are a step in the right direction, Minnesota offers only 20 land-based casinos to its residents. Many gamblers who wish to play in these casinos have to travel a fair distance to reach one, let alone those who have to leave the state in order to place sports wagers.
If online sportsbooks are legalized in Minnesota, bettors will no longer have to travel to neighboring states like Iowa to place their bets. The money will stay within Minnesota and generate a large revenue in tax, which can then be used to support state government schemes and education. The convenience of betting from home may encourage players to place more bets, increasing this tax revenue even more.
Making online sportsbooks legal also promotes a safer betting culture. While it is not currently legal to make sports wagers in Minnesota, many gamblers will use offshore sites to skirt around the law. These sites are often unregulated and can result in players being losing a lot of money, or having their private data exposed. Online sportsbook licenses would remove this threat for players.
What Will the Future of Online Gambling Look Like for Minnesota?
Since no legislation to legalize online gambling has been passed yet, it is hard to predict a timeline of when it might happen. However, we are hopeful that we will soon see a formal draft released.
Based on statements made by the House Commerce Committee and MIGA, the state and its tribes are working together to form a draft that suits both tribal and commercial operators. With Rep. Stephenson’s belief that a solution is almost on the cards, the outcome currently looks favorable for both retail and online sportsbooks in Minnesota.