Minnesotan Senator to Introduce Sports Betting Legislation

Minnesota: State Senator Karla Bigham could introduce a sports betting bill next week, while Representative Pat Garofalo plans to re-introduce his own bill soon.

Minnesotans Already Wager Online

A tweet shared Thursday by State Senator Karla Bigham announcing legislation for sports betting has reignited the hope of Minnesotan gamblers. Bigham said she hopes to introduce the sports wagering bill by the middle of the coming week.

Although sports betting is not yet legal in the state, Minnesotans already place wagers on real games and competitions. According to the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) Senator, legalizing wagering is an evident move, and is not about the potential profit for the state government. “This isn’t a cash cow, this isn’t going to solve budget problems,” Bigham declared.

“The fact of the matter is, sports wagering is done flagrantly. Why are we criminalizing things that aren’t enforced?”

Minnesota State Senator Karla Bigham

Daily fantasy operators, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Monkey Knife Fight, and PrizePicks, allow Minnesotan gamblers to place prop wagers and bet on fantasy sport. Those platforms are authorized to operate in the state as bettors do not wager actual games. In 1963, a change in the gambling law “made an exception […] for “private social bets not part of or incidental to organized, commercialized, or systematic gambling”.”

In-Person Bets First, Remote Betting Later

The bill is still in the works, Bigham said, as it has not been released yet. The proposal would allow casinos and racinos to take in-person bets for the first year and would offer remote gambling via state casinos after one year.

In-person registration is required for online wagering and players would have to load their accounts through Minnesotan casinos.

Brick-and-mortar gaming operators would receive 6% of the on-site betting profit and 8% for online bets, while the remaining of the proceeds would go to Minnesota State.

Sports betting might take a while to pass, as previous efforts to authorize the activity failed and were met with concern from local legislators and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association

Republican State Representative Pat Garofalo also plans to re-introduce his own similar sports gambling bill in the House. But passing the bills could be difficult, as both Bigham and Garofalo are in the minority party in the Senate and the House, respectively.

Garofalo said 29 US states have already authorized sports betting and that there is no reason for the state not legalize it. According to him, legal sports wagering would bring tens of millions of dollars off of $4 billion betting handles each year.

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