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May 27, 2019, GMT+0000, 14:30 pm
News Regulation

Sports Betting Could be Coming to Tribes in Minnesota

Tribal casinos in Minnesota may be part of the next wave to legalize sports betting in the US. On Wednesday, Representative Pat Garofalo, who has been the biggest supporter of legal sports gambling in the state, unveiled a new sports betting bill.  

Garofalo said that he has shared the bill with “multiple tribal entities” after drafting the bill over a week ago. He plans to formally introduce the bill on Thursday when lawmakers return to work. 

What The Bill Says 

Garofalo’s bill proposes language to define and legalize “sports pools” within the state lines. The bill would create the Minnesota Sports Wagering Commission, which would consist of five members, to promulgate rules and regulations for the tribal casinos. 

Under the provisions of the bill, only tribal properties would be able to seek licensure. Currently, there are 11 federally recognized tribes in Minnesota which operate a total of 19 gambling establishments. 

The bill only allows for on-site mobile wagering platforms and retail sportsbooks. It allows for betting on any professional or NCAA D-I sporting event. As of now, there is no mention of the “integrity fee” that the leagues are hoping to get. 

No license fee is currently listed, and the only tax proposed is an excise tax of 0.5 percent of the handle. If the bill passes as it is currently written, Minnesota would be the first state to calculate tax based on the total amount wagered as opposed to revenue. 

Will The Bill Pass? 

Last year Garofalo said that he would not submit sports betting legislation that did not have the support of the tribes. 

It is currently unknown what the tribes’ stance is on the bill, but Garofalo remains optimistic. In a recent interview with KARE, Garofalo talked about his motivation to bring sports betting to Minnesota. 

He believes that his bill will pass during the current session, although probably not this calendar year. The 2019 half of the two-year lawmaking session ends on May 21. 

In regards to statewide online and mobile sports betting, Garofalo says that may have to wait: 

“Right now, the easiest way to get a law passed is to limit it to certain sites. And then we can address the issue of mobile and other platforms at some point in the future.” 

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