The mission to legalize sports betting in Minnesota becomes more realistic as the legislative session moves on. Rep. Zack Stephenson, who is leading the charge on the operation, is two for two from the field as the bill moves on from the House Commerce, Finance, and Policy Committee as of Tuesday.
HB 2000 Leads the Sports Betting Push
Rep. Zack Stephenson is determined to legalize sports betting after narrowly failing short in the previous legislative session. In the writing of the bill, the coalition of tribes would be entitled to a brick-and-mortar location and one digital platform.
Meanwhile, online sports betting sites would also be able to join the state. Unlike potential markets like California, the tribal nations and professional sports franchises have decided to work together in the Gopher State.
David Prestwood from DraftKings was the sole individual who testified in support of the bill in person. Whereas the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling and the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition voiced their opposition to it.
Rep. Zack Stephenson reiterated the fact that sports betting was already a big business in the state because potential customers have crossed state lines or used offshore sportsbooks to place bets. In addition, Rep. Zack Stephenson believes that aspect of the business needs to be controlled moving forward, especially because the offshore platforms don’t have to be obliged by the laws set in the United States.
Minnesota Doesn’t Want to Fail Again
Lawmakers and advocates of the sports betting operation have cleared up the issues that made it fail last year. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) withdrew last year but will support the initiative once again this year.
The midterm elections also changed the trajectory of the sports gambling push because the Democratic Party controls both chambers. In the present year, the tribes would be granted direct licensure as sports betting operators, allowing them to collaborate with commercial entities like DraftKings or FanDuel to provide betting services.
The tax rate on adjusted revenue will be 10 percent, which is one of the lowest across the industry. The majority of the funding will go towards problem gambling, as many states have followed suit in recent weeks.
In the preliminary writing, 40 percent of the revenue generated will go towards problem gambling. Another 40 percent will go to youth sports problems in high-risk areas across the state. Representative Stephenson stated that the percentage of funds set aside for responsible gambling in Minnesota would be one of the highest among all states.
Minnesota Has an Underrated Sports Market
The Gopher State has an under-appreciated sports fan base which includes the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Twins, and others. According to Representative Stephenson’s “conservative estimate” figures from last year, the jurisdiction could generate an annual handle surpassing $2.8 billion, leading to approximately $1.2 billion in revenue.
When putting the numbers together, the state could potentially collect $12 million in tax receipts annually.