SAINT PAUL, MN – Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), and members of the Minnesota House of Representatives have announced new bipartisan sports betting legislation (House File 778). The bill’s first hearing took place March 8 in the House Commerce Committee.
The new bipartisan proposal seeks to replace illicit gaming with a regulated market. Minnesotans ages 18 and up would be allowed to participate using both mobile and brick-and-mortar options. The legislation is not meant to be a revenue driver for the state. Rather, revenue generated would be used to fund a regulated market, provide grants to address problem gaming and sports integrity, and provide grants to youth sports teams in areas with high juvenile crime.
“This legislation will bring about the most significant change to Minnesota’s gaming laws in many years,” said Rep. Stephenson. “State lawmakers in the Minnesota House have crafted a thoughtful bill based on respectful consultation with sovereign tribal nations, professional sports teams, experts in problem gaming, and many other stakeholders. This is the year we get sports betting done in Minnesota.”
“The current sports gambling black market is indefensible,” said Rep. Garofalo. “A majority of states have abandoned the underground market and instead chosen a legalized sports gambling marketplace. It is time for Minnesota to do the same.”
To date, the surrounding states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois have all legalized online or retail sports betting. Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state authorization of sports betting in 2018, 29 states and Washington D.C. offer sports betting. Three others have legalized it but are not in operation yet.