Home » Optimism Surrounding Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Dwindles

Optimism Surrounding Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Dwindles

House File 2000, a bill to legalize sports betting in Minnesota, passed through the House Taxes Committee on Tuesday. The bill heads to the House Ways and Means Committee. Despite the progress, several Republican committee members shared their belief that the bill has no chance of becoming law in 2024.

“This bill will not pass,” Rep. Greg Davids said, flatly.

Republican committee members anticipate the bill stalling in the Senate, even if it successfully moves through the House.

HF 2000, if approved, would tax online sports betting at 20%. The state’s 11 tribes would be granted licenses to offer legal sports betting apps to Minnesotans, which has caused debate as some legislators want better representation in sports betting for the state’s horse racing tracks.

The legislation also legalizes daily fantasy sports sites, which would be taxed at 10%.

There are a couple of other bills floating to legalize sports betting in Minnesota this session, but barring a drastic shift in attitude, they’re also expected to struggle to pass this year.

Heated committee debate

The committee hearing was testy throughout the discussion of HF 2000, with Republicans and Democrats firmly disagreeing on the benefits of legal sports gambling and the bill’s impact on the state’s local charities.

Sign Up For The Sports Handle Newsletter!

The bill plans to allocate about $40 million worth of tax cuts to the state’s charities after a few years of legalized wagering, but some legislators don’t believe it to be enough.

Rep. Kristin Robbins, a Republican, referred to the tax allocation to charities as “scraps.”

“First time I’ve heard $40 million a year referred to as scraps, but that’s cool,” Rep. Aisha Gomez, a Democrat and the committee chair, said.

Robbins later countered that the $40 million in annual projected tax cuts takes several years to reach $40 million and leaves the charities in a tough spot in coming years.

Gomez sounded flustered at times during the meeting, sternly telling committee members that factually untrue statements won’t be allowed during the discussion. It was clear from the debate over the bill that Minnesota legislators have a long way to go toward agreeing on how to legalize sports betting, as emotions ran high Tuesday.

Industry insider on 2024 legalization

Republican members of the Minnesota House aren’t the only people skeptical that Minnesota will legalize sports betting in 2024.

Bill Pascrell III, a partner at Princeton Public Affairs Group, says he’s not expecting Minnesota to legalize sports betting in 2024. Nothing can be ruled out until the session officially ends on May 20, but it’s likely lawmakers will need to come back to the table in 2025.

“There’s a little bit more hope than last year, but I’m thinking this is probably a future move,” Pascrell told Sports Handle.

Pascrell has strong doubts about any states legalizing sports betting in 2024, with several legalization efforts already failed.

“There are those in the industry who do what I do who are gonna want to throw bouquets out, but very practically and honestly, I don’t see much opportunity for more states passing legislation for sports betting or online gaming this year,” Pascrell said.