Tribes Oppose Online Sports Betting in Minnesota
Lawmakers have been working to legalize online sports betting in Minnesota over the past 12 months, but they are facing some intense opposition from Native American tribes.
Senator Roger Chamberlain introduced bill SF 1894 last March to legalize sports betting in MN. That bill made it through just one committee before it stalled out without any more action being taken in 2019. Bills introduced in odd years carry over to even years, and there was some hope that action would be taken in 2020.
Chamberlain amended bill SF 1894 to make tribal nations happy, and he included language that would have required in-person registration for a sports betting account. The bill made it to the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, and that is where it currently sits today. The coronavirus pandemic took away some of the focus, and the bill was once again met with resistance.
The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association wrote a letter again, promoting their stance that a sports betting law would negatively impact their revenue. There are currently 21 casinos, operated by 11 different Native American tribes in Minnesota.
SF 1894 would have allowed for Minnesota sports betting online, and the bill noted that state law would trump local law. This bill has advanced the farthest in getting sports betting legalized, but there is still a long way to go.
Minnesotans Cannot Play at Online Casinos
A total of 19 tribal casinos operate in Minnesota, offering a wide array of games. Unfortunately, Minnesota has some pretty strict laws when it comes to online gambling, and that includes online casino betting. It is illegal to operate an online casino, and that likely won’t change anytime soon.
It wasn’t until 1982 that any form of gambling other than charitable gambling was allowed in Minnesota. The state approved a constitutional amendment to allow pari-mutuel horse race betting in 1983, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that tribal casinos began to pop up in the state.
Minnesota is extremely slow to legalize forms of gambling, and that applies to online casino gambling. There haven’t been any discussions in the state legislature to legalize online casinos, and that will likely continue until the state decides what to do with sports betting.
Is Online Poker Legal in Minnesota?
Poker is one of the two table games allowed in Minnesota, with blackjack being the other table game that is offered. Tribal casinos can offer live table games, and most casinos are open 24 hours a day. So, there is a chance to play poker in Minnesota at all hours of the day, but online poker is not currently legal.
Minnesota lawmakers would have to propose a bill to legalize online casinos first, and then the voters in the state would have to create a constitutional amendment. Online poker in Minnesota isn’t in the cards anytime soon. Should the legality of online poker in MN change, you’ll be able to find updates on this page.
Daily Fantasy Sports Not Yet Legal in MN
Minnesota has not passed a law to make daily fantasy sports legal. Representative Tony Albright proposed HF1415 to formally recognize the daily fantasy sports industry and create rules to regulate it. A vote of 74-48 in the House declined the bill, despite earning support from at least three committees. The Senate never got to discuss the bill, or vote on the issue, and there haven’t been any other attempts made.
Should there be any changes to the legal stand of daily fantasy sports in Minnesota, you will be able to find updates on this page.
Minnesota State Lottery Tickets Cannot Be Purchased Online
The Minnesota State Lottery is the name of the official Minnesota lottery, and it was established in 1988. Voters in the state passed a pair of new amendments that allowed the industry to be created. Forty percent of the proceeds from the state lottery goes to the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
In 2013, Minnesota lawmakers began working towards legislation that would allow the official Minnesota lottery the ability to sell tickets online. In February 2014, the first eScratch tickets were offered to residents of the state, despite some harsh opposition from some lawmakers. Later in 2014, the state legislature was able to pass a bill outlawing the sales of these online tickets, but Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill.
In 2018, the state legislature once again came up with a bill to outlaw online lottery ticket sales, and this time they got their wish. Governor Dayton did not sign the bill, but it became law without his signature. Aug. 31 marked the final day in which eScratch tickets could be sold.
Additional Facts About Gambling in Minnesota
Minnesota first introduced gambling laws in 1945, and charitable gambling was all that was included. The state estimates that they bring in over $700 million in gambling revenue each year, with this money coming from the compacts they have with Tribal Nations.
One interesting piece of history from the gambling industry in Minnesota is that the state tried to use a form of gambling to generate money to build a new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. The team was hoping to raise money by installing electronic pull-tabs in bars.
The hope was that these games would raise $35 million in revenue, but the effort failed miserably, and no money was generated to help the building cost. These games are still offered in bars today, but they are not very popular.
Final Thoughts on Gambling in Minnesota
There are still a few ways to gamble online in Minnesota, but residents would love to see the industry expanded. Lawmakers are working hard to try and get a sports betting bill approved, and that would create a path for online casino betting. Gambling in Minnesota is legal throughout the state, and it could be offered in many ways soon.