Pro Sports Teams Support Tribal Exclusivity For Minnesota Sports Betting

Written By Matthew Kredell on February 21, 2023
bill racetracks minnesota sports betting tribes

Minnesota pro sports teams offered support for new legislation giving tribes exclusivity over Minnesota sports betting.

Rep. Zack Stephenson and Sen. Matt Klein introduced the legislation in a press conference Tuesday.

Stephenson’s HF2000 and Klein’s SF1949 represent the first time Minnesota chambers have introduced companion language on Minnesota sports betting.

“Last year, legalized sports betting passed the House with bipartisan majority but stalled out in the Senate,” Stephenson said. “We’re back this year and intend to finish the job.”

Stephenson will start his bill down the long Minnesota committee process Wednesday with a hearing in the House Commerce, Finance and Policy Committee that he chairs.

The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association offered support for Stephenson’s bill but stopped short of a full endorsement until tribes see the final language.

“As this proposal moves through the legislative process, we look forward to working with you and other stakeholders,” MIGA executive director Andy Platto wrote in a letter to Stephenson provided at the press conference.

Details of Minnesota sports betting bills

The new Minnesota sports betting language is very similar to Stephenson’s bill passed by the House last year.

One main difference is the legislation now provides for 11 online sports betting licenses, one for each tribe. Previously, the tribes shared two master mobile sports betting licenses.

The intent was the same, for each tribe to have the opportunity to offer a sports wagering app. But the master licenses caused confusion and concern that the Minnesota sports betting market could be limited to two apps.

Other key details include:

  • Instructs the governor to enter into compacts with tribes to offer retail sports betting at their 19 tribal casinos.
  • Tribes pay an annual licensing fee of $2,125 for a mobile sports wagering operator license.
  • Up to 11 mobile sports betting platform providers and sports betting suppliers pay $38,250 for an initial three-year license with a $6,000 application fee, renewable for $25,500.
  • Taxes online wagers at a 10% rate. The state doesn’t tax bets placed on tribal lands.
  • Mobile sports betting apps must clearly display the brand of the tribal operator.
  • Requires mobile sports bettors to be at last 21 years of age.
  • Authorizes wagering on professional sports, college sports and esports.
  • Permissible wagers include single-game bets, futures, teasers, parlays, over-under, money line, in game betting, exchange wagering and postseason awards.

As shown in the low fees and tax rate, Minnesota isn’t looking to make money off of sports betting.

After $2.7 million goes to the commissioner of public safety to regulate mobile sports betting and $1,353,000 to the commissioner of revenue to administer the tax, online sports betting revenue gets split between:

  • 50% to the commissioner of human services for a compulsive gambling treatment program and problem gambling awareness.
  • 50% to support youth sports through an amateur sports integrity and participation account.

Alternate Senate bill provides more inclusive proposal

Sen. Jeremy Miller’s bill has not yet officially been introduced. But a draft copy provided to PlayUSA still provides tribes exclusivity for online sports betting while allowing retail licenses to teams and racetracks. It also encourages tribes to partner with tracks and teams on mobile.

Miller’s bill basically takes the House legislation and expands the licenses. Key details include:

  • Creates 11 mobile sports betting partnership licenses through which Minnesota sports teams, racetracks or major sporting events can have their own mobile sports betting skin through partnership with tribal mobile sports betting license holders.
  • Tribes are free to make business arrangements for such partnerships or not.
  • Makes Minnesota sports pro sports teams, major sporting events and racetracks eligible for retail sports betting licenses.
  • Taxes sports betting revenue at 10%.
  • Splits 25% of sports betting revenue among licensed charitable gaming organizations in Minnesota.
  • Each of the following also get 25% of sports betting revenue: a compulsive gambling treatment program, a sports marketing and awareness account to bring sporting events to Minnesota, an Amateur Sports Commission for grants to youth sports.

Miller told PlayUSA:

“People have asked me if the Minnesota Sports Betting Act is a proposal from the horse racing tracks or the teams or the tribes. It’s not a proposal from any of the stakeholders. It’s a proposal from me based on discussions I’ve had the past few years with all the Minnesota stakeholders and other lawmakers.”

Teams support Minnesota sports betting tribal exclusivity

Minnesota sports teams are actually supporting legislation with tribal exclusivity over a bill that would provide them with market access to sports betting.

The Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and three other sports teams submitted a letter to Stephenson backing his bill.

The letter stated:

“The teams have a strong desire to work with the tribes as fellow stakeholders to help establish a vibrant market that features as many betting brands as possible. As such, the teams support tribal sports betting exclusivity, and we believe their success will only be strengthened by the authorization of a Minnesota statewide sports betting market.”

The teams added that they oppose any legislation awarding licenses to non-tribal entities that are not teams. Namely, horse racetracks.

This could just be a pragmatic decision. It makes sense to support the legislation with the best chance of passing.

Minnesota sports teams also have existing partnerships with Minnesota tribes. Sports betting surely will enhance those partnerships.

Miller said wants to see sportsbooks at Minnesota sporting events as happens elsewhere in the US. He went to Washington DC earlier this year and attended a Washington Capitals game. There he saw a bar with sports betting connected to the NHL arena.

“To me it makes sense for the professional sports teams to have an onsite sportsbook at the arena or stadium for those who want to partake in sports betting,” Miller said. “It’s just part of the atmosphere. It made it more fun.”

Will Senate pass tribal exclusivity for Minn sports betting?

Last year as Senate Majority Leader, Miller and Senate sports betting author Sen. Roger Chamberlain would not allow a Minnesota sports betting bill to pass without including horse racetracks.

But Chamberlain lost his re-election bid in November. The Republican Party also lost its hold of the Senate, meaning Miller no longer is majority leader.

Support from Klein, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, could indicate that the Senate is ready to give exclusivity to tribes.

“Minnesotans are demanding and many are already accessing it,” Klein said of Minnesota sports betting. “I take it as my charge to get it across the line.”

But there does still appear to be stronger support for horse racetracks in the Senate.

Miller told PlayUSA that he still doesn’t believe the Senate would approve a Minnesota sports betting bill giving exclusivity to the tribes.

“I don’t think a bill with tribal exclusivity has the votes to pass in the Senate, which is why I rolled out this proposal,” Miller said. “What I’m trying to do is figure out a way all stakeholders can benefit and get a piece of the action.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew's reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. After graduating from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and

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