Minnesota Legislators Make Last-Ditch Effort to Legalize Sports Betting in 2024

To help push online and retail wagering through in 2024, a horse track regulation bill was combined late last week with the sports betting language from HF2000.

Industry Contributor
May 13, 2024 • 16:40 ET • 4 min read
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Minnesota’s pro-sports betting legislators enter the final week of the 2024 session needing to complete a Hail Mary pass. 

To help push online and retail wagering through in 2024, a horse track regulation bill was combined late last week with the sports betting language from HF2000.

The North Star State’s House’s Ways and Means Committee adopted changes to HF5274 on May 10, giving sports betting legalization a real boost.

Following last week's split vote, HF5274 is scheduled to be heard on the Minnesota House floor on Wednesday. The session ends on May 20.

“There’s still a path to get sports betting done, but it’s a very narrow path,” Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) said in a social media video on Monday. “We need to find a solution that benefits the tribes and the (horse racing) tracks.” 

What’s in the bill?

HF2000 and HF5274 are both sponsored by Rep. Zack Stevenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), who’s continued fighting for sports betting legalization to curb offshore wagering.

“It is unlawful to engage in sports betting in Minnesota today, and it happens every single day in extreme amounts,” Stephenson said. “We will be transitioning people from the black market into a legitimate marketplace.”  

Stephenson’s regulation bill wants historical horse racing machines at Minnesota’s two horse tracks prohibited. Stephenson compared those devices to slot machines, which are only permitted at tribal casinos.

The added language from HF2000 into HF5274 calls for 11 online sports betting licenses with a 20% tax rate for operators like FanDuel and DraftKings who partner with the North Star State’s tribal nations. 

Retail sportsbooks would operate at tribal casinos and race tracks. Some fantasy contests would be legalized as well.

Pari-mutuel wagering is not included in HF5274 because Stephenson believes it would hurt the existing and economically struggling tracks. 

Still trying 

There are other bills still in the works as well. SF1949 is the companion bill to HF2000, which didn’t move out of the Ways and Means Committee after May 2.

SF1949 has stalled in the Senate since the Taxes Committee passed it and referred it to the Finance Committee on March 18.

SF5354 is the companion bill to HF5274, but getting bills introduced has not been a problem in Minnesota in the last few years. It’s getting enough legislators to agree on all the provisions. 

“I remain committed to working together with both the tribes and the tracks and all of the other stakeholders and legislators on both sides of the aisle to try to find a solution to get it done this year,” said Miller, who introduced a sports betting bill in the Senate earlier this year. 

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