Poll Shows 64 Percent of Voters Favor Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Poll Shows 64 Percent of Voters Favor Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota

A thick gray cloud continues to hang over the subject of legalizing sports betting throughout Minnesota. Few states have failed to make the transition despite so many attempts to do just that. Bills that would legalize sports betting in Minnesota have been proposed and brought to the House of Representatives and Senate on three separate occasions. And they have been bounced back each time.

Optimists are hopeful that could change in the near future. But as we covered in this space just last month, the Minnesota sports betting debate remains at an impasse. There is no guarantee the state does anything to remedy the division on the subject, either. Select experts throughout the industry have actually posited that they'd be shocked if legal sports betting came to Minnesota before 2025. 

That is a massive bummer without further context. But a recent poll of Minnesota voters provided further context. And the returns are confusing, because they run counter to what the state has done so far.

Voters Really Want Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota

Voters Really Want Legal Sports Betting in Minnesota

As noted by MinnesotaSportsFan.com, a recent poll of Minnesota voters was conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA. Subjects were simply asked whether they were for or against Minnesota sports betting. And as it turns out, 64 percent of those who responded said they were in favor of legal sports betting. That is nearly two-thirds of the entire sample!

What's more, a very tiny percentage of the polled voters actually said they were against it implementing a legal sports betting policy. About 19 percent of people indicated that they were undecided, which left just 17 percent of respondents as hard "Nos." That is a very tiny percentage of the population. And it makes you wonder why sports betting has been so hard to legalize in Minnesota.

Governments are supposed to reflect the will of the people. It's clear the people of Minnesota want legal sports betting. And when framed that way, opposing it for this long is counterintuitive to the role state government is tasked with playing in society.

Perhaps this will mark a turning point in the sports betting debate. Polls on this subject are more common throughout every swing state, including both California and Texas, which also remain sports betting holdouts. Of course, this presumes the survey conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA is accurate...

Could the Minnesota Sports Betting Survey Miss the Mark?

Polls are inherently flawed. That's why we see so many elections incorrectly predicted. It can be difficult to reach a sample size that's actually indicative of the entire population. Similar issues could be at play with the Minnesota sports betting survey.

In this particular situation, the poll doesn't explicitly say how many people were successfully contacted. If it was only 100, then it's probably not accurate. But on the flip side, if it was in the hundreds or even thousands, those samples tend to be pretty representative of the entire population.

Without knowing for sure, we can't say with absolute certainty that the state of Minnesota has botched the entire sports betting debate. Then again, the 64 percent figure is large enough that it may be more accurate than not—even after factoring in bigger than normal margins for error.

Why is the State of Minnesota at a Deadlock Over Sports Betting Anyway?

Why is the State of Minnesota at a Deadlock Over Sports Betting Anyway?

The legal gambling impasse facing Minnesota is now months old. During the last round of legislative sessions, a bill was proposed that would have awarded 11 tribes exclusivity over the state's sports betting rights. That proposal was considered to have majority support.

However, the bill fell apart once it reached the Senate. Officials tried adding a provision that also allowed legal sports betting in Minnesota to take place at two horse racing tracks. This wound up being a deal-breaker for the tribes. They apparently believe even a minor expansion such as this one sets the precedent for a slippery slope moving forward. And as we noted in our September 2022 article, this is the moment when the Minnesota legislature went from having a legal sports betting agreement in place to once again adjourning without one.

Nothing has changed in the months since, either. The tribes still remain steadfast that sports betting should only take place on-site at their grounds. This includes Minnesota online sports betting. For all the hullabaloo over the Senate trying to work in sports betting at race tracks, there wasn't much push-back to the state excluding retail online sportsbooks from their proposal.

The Future of Sports Betting in Minnesota Remains Murky

At this point, it's not worth guessing what happens next in Minnesota. Too many variables are at play.

With that in mind, we do know that their most serious proposals have not included online sports betting outside tribal grounds. And it isn't clear what it would take for the tribes to change their stance.

Fortunately, Minnesotans are not without workarounds. Plenty of sites that appear in our reviews of the top online sportsbooks allow you to sign up for an account from anywhere in the United States. If you live in Minnesota, this isn't just your best chance to bet on sports online. It's your best chance to bet on sports at all for the next few years.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one is best for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read more here.