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Less Than A Month Left To Legalize Minnesota Sports Betting In 2024

The 2024 Minnesota legislative session kicked off with plenty of optimism and hope that Minnesota sports betting would be legalized. However, some of that hope has dissipated over the past few months.

The session must end by Monday, May 20. That means there’s less than a month to pass any of the Minnesota sports betting bills that have been introduced by lawmakers. Doing so in ways that satisfy all parties involved has proven pretty tricky.

Multiple Minnesota sports betting bills introduced this year

Members of the state’s House of Representatives and Senate have considered four different pieces of Minnesota sports betting legislation. Three bills have been introduced by the Senate, while another was introduced by the House.

The one that’s made it the furthest, to date, is SF 1949. That passed out of committee in mid-March with several notable amendments. One of them included a prohibition of in-game betting, a clause Rep. Pat Garofalo considers a “poison pill.” The proposed tax rate was also doubled, from 10% to 20%, and annual revenue potential is seen at around $18 million.

More recently, Sen. John Marty, the head of Minnesota’s Senate Finance Committee, introduced SF 5330. That bill doubles the proposed tax rate to 40%, which would be the second-highest total in the country (behind New York’s 51% tax rate). It also allocates half of all revenue to problem gambling treatment programs.

In addition, state lawmakers have been busy with matters concerning the state’s horse racing venues. Tracks are trying to launch historical horse racing and are facing staunch opposition from in-state tribes and casinos. The sports betting bills under consideration vary in how they treat racetracks. SF 1949 designates tracks to receive five percent of revenue, while SF 5330 freezes them out entirely. The Minnesota sports betting bill introduced in the House, HF 5274, explicitly bans historical horse racing machines.

Is the optimism gone?

The legislative session hasn’t gone the way Minnesota sports betting advocates were hoping it would. However, some lawmakers remain hopeful a deal will get done.

“We continue our discussions and are trying to get the best product out there for Minnesotans,” said Sen. Matt Klein, who sponsors SF 1949, in an interview with The St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’m still optimistic.”

The consideration of multiple bills, however, is historically not a good indicator of future success. Multiple states considering sports betting legalization, and weighing the merits of multiple bills at the same time, have seen the cause lack momentum until there is a unified push behind one bill.

Georgia sports betting is facing many of the same issues as Minnesota, for instance. In each of the past two legislative sessions, Georgia leaders have proposed multiple bills at the same time, and none have gained the required steam to become laws.

All of this comes as each of Minnesota’s neighbors boast legal, regulated sports betting industries. If Minnesota is to join them anytime soon, lawmakers will need to pass legislation within the next few weeks.


  • Andrew Champagne

    Andrew Champagne is a Senior Editor at Raketech. A passionate storyteller, handicapper, and analyst, Andrew lives in Northern California's Bay Area. He can often be found planning his next trip to Las Vegas, bowling reasonably well, or golfing incredibly poorly.