Minnesota bill seeks to authorise online sports betting via state tribes

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A new bill has been introduced in Minnesota that would authorise online sports betting through the state’s tribes.

State tribes and sports leagues have shown their support of identical bills from Representative Zack StephensonHF2000 – and Senator Matt KleinSF1949 – introduced in the North Star State’s house and senate respectively.

The bill would approve up to 11 sports betting licenses for the following tribes for a fee of $2,125 per year:

  • The Fond du Lac Band
  • The Grand Portage Band
  • The Mille Lacs Band
  • The White Earth Band
  • The Bois Forte Band
  • The Leech Lake Band
  • The Red Lake Nation
  • The Upper Sioux Community
  • The Lower Sioux Indian Community
  • The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
  • The Prairie Island Indian Community

Meanwhile, platform providers – existing operators in other states such as FanDuel and DraftKings – would have to pay $6,000 first, followed by $38,250 for a three-year license if they wish to work with a tribe in the state.

However, the bill declares that tribes can only work with one commercial platform provider, adding that the provider’s brand must be clearly displayed within the mobile sports betting application – but that it can’t be the sportsbook’s prominent branding.

The bill adds that revenues generated from sports betting would be taxed at 10 per cent.

Legalising sports betting in Minnesota would put the state in line with its neighbours of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, with the latter three having launched their respective sports wagering markets in 2021. Iowa launched its market in 2019.

The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association’s Executive Director Andy Platto has sent a statement to Stephenson approving his sports betting bill, as the MIGA believes it will support the state’s tribes and provide a ‘well-regulated and accessible market’.

According to a tweet by Fox 9’s Seth Kaplan, the letter stated: “Were your bill to become law, MIGA Tribes believe the resulting mobile and retail markets operated by Minnesota’s Tribal Nations would not only support Tribes, but would also provide a well-regulated and accessible market for the state’s sports bettors and a competitive market that is important to our state’s professional sports teams and marketing partners.”

Stephenson has also received a joint statement of support from Minnesota sports teams officials – Minnesota United FC CEO Shari Ballard, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson, Minnesota Wild President Matt Majka, Minnesota Vikings COO Andrew Miller, and Minnesota Twins President and CEO David St Peter.

This support comes despite the fact the bill doesn’t permit sports teams and racetracks to operate sportsbooks.

The statement read, via a tweet by Kaplan: “As you know, the Tribes and Teams have worked together for many months to find alignment on a bill that will create a vibrant market while providing for consumer protections. We greatly value our tribal partnerships, our opportunity to work with MIGA, and greatly respect Minnesota’s tribal nations.”

The bill currently resides in the state House’s Commerce Finance and Policy committee, whose Chairman is Stephenson.

Earlier this month, a sports betting bill by Sen. Jeremy Miller was announced – yet to be introduced – which would allow for sports wagering at the state’s casinos, racetracks, pro sports venues, and online.