Sports betting is officially legal in more than half of the United States as of February 2022. Chief among the holdouts, though, is the state of Minnesota, which has thus far resisted green lighting sports gambling practices despite so many of their neighboring regions having already made the plunge. And yet, many expect this to change over the next year. Are they correct? Or will it still be a while before Minnesota joins the ranks of those that have legalized sports betting?
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Last year, right around the middle of February in 2021, online sports betting in the USA was legal throughout 19 states. Fast forward roughly 12 months, to right now, and that number has grown to 33 states. All of which means more than half of the United States has officially legalized some form of sports gambling within their region.
And yet, despite this uptick in approval, betting on sports is not legal in Minnesota. They remain among the most prominent holdouts—and not just because so many of the states surrounding them have given their stamp of approval to sports betting. Sure, that's part of it. But Minnesota is also unique because they have yet to even pass or vote on any sort of legislation that would begin the process of changing their sports betting policy.
This is fairly wild to think about knowing how moderate-to-liberal the politics skew throughout the state. It is also because of these politics that things might change at all. After all this time of avoiding the issue, experts now expect Minnesota to legalize sports betting before the end of 2022.
Let's break down what this all means.
Why Hasn't Minnesota Legalized Sports Betting Already?
There is no especially complex or forceful answer to this question. The fact of the matter is that sports betting simply hasn't been a priority for Minnesota over the past few years.
Indeed, there has been some strong opposition against the legalization of sports gambling from certain parts of the local government. Mostly, though, Minnesota has been indifferent towards the issue. They haven't talked about it all that much relative to other states because no one's forcing them to have these discussions.
This includes the Native American Tribes who currently own and operate all 18 of Minnesota's casinos. Collectively, they have shown a surprising lack of interest in legalizing sports betting and the legwork it would entail on their end, from building physical sportsbooks to getting mobile apps and websites up and running.
This indifference from casino operators is key. They tend to be the driving voice in other states that have legalized sports betting or plan to do so in the near future. They are also the parties who partner with lobbyists on behalf of bigger sportsbook conglomerates—such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, et al. Without an intense interest from the Native American Tribes in the legalization of sports betting, though, these companies and their lobbyists haven't held much influence over the issue or even possessed the ability to have the government re-evaluate the state's position
So...Why Might Minnesota Legalize Sports Betting in 2022
Peer pressure is, in fact, a factor here. Many of Minnesota's government officials, from both the republican and democratic parties, have come around to the idea of sports betting because of closely located states having already done the same. Places like Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and even Wisconsin are often mentioned as comparable situations, as well.
Minnesota, like every other state, is also still grappling with the aftereffects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. States everywhere have been scrambling to slash budgets and recoup revenue streams. Online sports betting has been deemed a solution by many other regions to this exact issue, and it seems Minnesota is starting to pick up on the seven figures in tax revenue they stand to generate per year.
With so many other states also having legalized sports betting, Minnesota is hoping a shift in policy will be a boon for tourism. There has even been talk about erecting some resorts in order to compete with many of the casino and sportsbook attractions in Nevada.
What Will Legal Sports Betting Look Like in Minnesota?
As it stands, the legislation that is being loosely discussed in Minnesota will cover all areas of sports betting. The state appears open to having both on-site and online gaming options available to their residents, as well as in-arena kiosks at professional sporting events across the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. This should be your cue to check out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks, so you can spot the best betting sites available in the region.
If it seems like Minnesota's stance on sports gambling is shifting very quickly, that's because it is. But that doesn't mean Minnesota can implement legal online sports betting overnight.
Green lighting its installment is Step 1 in a very long process. If and when Minnesota okays legal sports betting, they will need to accept and review applications for sportsbooks licenses, choose their partners, ensure on-site sportsbooks are up to code, establish an online and mobile app infrastructure for all licensed sportsbooks to use, and so on and so forth.
All of this takes time. And lots of it. Minnesota shouldn't need to wait years as other states did since they have so many examples to follow, but residents will need to be patient. Typically, states are operating on a six-to-12-month delay after the initial legalization of sports betting. So if Minnesota, as expected, approves this latest initiative by the spring of 2022, the state probably won't actually roll out sports betting until sometime in 2023.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that's accepting bets from customers in your region: