New Minnesota Sports Betting Bill To Be Filed Thursday

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – A brand new bill was introduced on Wednesday that would legalize sports betting in Minnesota.

Re. Pat Garofalo has introduced a new bill during a press conference on Wednesday. He is calling the bill the “Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019.” The legislation has not yet been formally introduced in the State’s House of Representatives yet. Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) says that he plans on introducing the bill when lawmakers return to work on Thursday.

The new piece of legislation would legalize “sports pools” within the state. The bill would also create a new Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission and the state would receive .5 percent of the cut on all wagers made, making the North Star State the first states to tax based on total amount wagered rather than overall revenue.

Getting The Tribes Approval

One of the biggest issues that Minnesota has had in the past was getting the blessing from the native tribes to go forward with sports betting. The tribes have a strong hold over lawmakers in the state and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association strongly opposes gambling off their reservations.

After writing the legislation, Garofalo said that he shared the bill with multiple tribal entities before today’s press conference. Garofalo has said in the past that he would not file a sports wagering legislation without the tribe’s support.

The bill has a lot of provisions that aims to satisfy their needs and will allow sports betting in the state. One of the provisions is that 19 of the tribal casinos in the state can apply for a sports gambling license.

No Statewide Online Wagering, Yet

Another provision that he provided is that mobile betting can only be done on-site of a tribal casino. “Right now, the easiest way to get a law passed is to limit it to certain sites,” said Garofalo. “And then we can address the issue of mobile and other platforms at some point in the future.”

Because the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is against off-reservation gambling, the tribes in the state would have likely not given their approval if the bill started with statewide online or mobile betting. Once this legislation passes, lawmakers can better negotiate with the tribes to allow wagering on sports online. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association has yet to formally give their approval.

The bill will be formally filed on Thursday in the House. Garofalo believes that the bill will indeed pass but is unsure if it will pass this calendar year. The current session ends May 21, so it will be a bit of a race to pass the new bill for sports betting in Minnesota before that date.

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