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UPDATE: Did Minnesota Sports Betting Receive a Jolt of Life?

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated May 10, 2024 · 1:08 PM PDT

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards celebrates a basket
Apr 20, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts after making a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns in the second half during game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Minnesota House Speaker recently said sports betting odds are improving
  • Puts sports betting passage at 60/40
  • Minnesota’s legislative session will end on May 20

UPDATE: During a House Ways and Means Committee Meeting this afternoon, the language of Rep. Zack Stephenson’s sports betting bill, HF 2000, was officially placed in his bill HF 5274 to prohibit historical horse racing machines at state racetracks. The legislation was then moved ahead to the House floor.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

As the Minnesota legislative session enters its final 10 days, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-34B) shared some positivity about sports betting’s chances to be legalized this year.

It’s a surprising change, as many House of Representatives members publicly stated at the end of April that no sports betting bill had a chance to be approved in the Senate.

Improving Odds to be Passed

According to Torey Van Oot, a reporter for Axios, Hortman met with reporters Thursday and discussed the chances that sports betting is legalized this session. Hortman said negotiations have been going well and put the odds of a bill being passed at 60-40.

Historical horse racing would not be a part of any potential bill, Hortman reportedly said.

It’s a surprising turn, as any chance sports betting had of being legalized this session seemed dead at the end of April. Several members of the House of Representatives Taxes Committee moved a sports betting bill along on April 30, but expressed serious doubt during the meeting that the legislation had any chance of approval in the Minnesota Senate.

The committee gave Rep. Zack Stephenson’s (DFL-Coon Rapids) sports betting bill, HF 2000, a favorable report, re-referring the bill to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“It may pass the House, but it will not pass the Senate,” Rep. Greg Davids (R-26B) said at the meeting.

But taking Hortman’s comments into account, it seems as if negotiations between the House and Senate have taken a positive turn. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota can finally bring sports betting over the finish line after several years of work.

HF 2000 Sports Betting Details

Stephenson’s bill provides exclusive control of retail and online sports betting to the following 11 state tribes:

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

Minnesota professional sports franchises also support this bill.

His bill specifically prohibits historical horse racing (HHR) machines in Minnesota’s state racetracks. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Racing Commission voted to allow 500 HHR machines in the state’s two racetracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces.

Stephenson has also proposed a standalone bill, HF 5274, that would officially ban HHR in the state.

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