Minnesota Betting Bill Sponsors Signal Tribes On-Board for Legislation Efforts

Minnesota has a real chance to press ahead with sports betting legalization that would end the feud between the government and tribal operators and allow the state to introduce legislation that regulates wagering on athletic events.

This is the opinion of Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson and Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo who spoke on Monday and said that Native American tribes may finally withdraw their objections to sports betting regulation. The two lawmakers are co-sponsoring a new bill announced in February that is hoping to finally usher in sports betting in the state.

Stephenson and Garofalo Have a Solution to the Legislative Impasse

Stephenson was cited by the Associated Press as he explained that the leaders of Minnesota’s Ojibwe and Dakota bands were prepared to look into options that would make it legal to bet on sports betting and create a framework that benefits all interested parties and the consumer. Stephenson’s comments come after extensive meetings with tribal leaders.

The new legislation will be getting a first committee hearing today, the lawmaker explained and further outlined the impact the document may have on the gambling industry:

“If this bill passes, Minnesotans will be able to visit sports betting lounges in casinos all across Minnesota, and they’ll also be able to wager on sports from their own mobile phones anywhere in the state.”

Democratic Rep. Zack Stephenson

So far, attempts to legalize sports betting in the state have come short and for a good reason, too. Tribal casinos are the primary source of revenue for tribal communities in the region and the introduction of sports betting legislation could redirect some of that revenue away from those communities, a common fear goes.

The bill that the lawmakers put forward would allow tribal communities to retain the bulk of the proceeds while eliminating the black market for sports betting in Minnesota. The bill would allow tribal casinos to team up with sports betting companies, such as BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, which are the three biggest and most popular betting platforms in the United States.

Based on their proposal, the state would cut 10% of the tribal’s net profits from online betting or $20 million a year. Out of this amount 40% will go to problem gambling campaigns, another 40% will be allocated to youth sports and 20% are earmarked to protect the integrity of sports.

Tribes Anticipating a Favorable Bill in the Making

An early positive sign here is that there has been no formal objection by tribal leaders against the bill which indicates that Stephenson has been indeed in communication with representatives, boosting a potential legislation’s chances of success.

But this tacit approval is not a guarantee that the bill would go anywhere. According to Stephenson, there are at least six committees in the House of Representatives alone that need to go through the bill and that is many people to please.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, a trade body for 10 tribal nations, said that it supported efforts to introduce sports betting at tribal properties and through online and mobile platforms.  The organizaitons also said that they will be following legislative efforts closely and offer to work closely with stakeholders.

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