Entering the summer of 2022, there are no groundbreaking updates on Minnesota sports betting. And residents better get used to this.
When the latest attempt to get legal sports betting in Minnesota failed this past spring, it meant there would likely be no movement on the matter until next year at the absolute earliest. But if the resistance to green light sports gambling in The Land of 10,000 Lakers has taught us anything, it's that we can't just assume next year will bring better luck. Given why Minnesota didn't join the ranks of legal sports betting in the United States, it seems like they're going to need a little push from another state working through similar issues.
And that state might just be California.
The Golden State is scheduled to vote on two separate sports betting bills this November. And if either one passes, it could set a precedent for other places, such as Minnesota, that have thus far struggled to board the sports betting bandwagon. But what does that mean? And will it be enough?
Let's journey into the weeds together.
Minnesota Sports Betting Issue Mirror California's Concerns
Minnesota rejected the latest sports betting bill, HF 778, back in May because they couldn't come to a common ground over control of the market. The initial proposal stipulated that 11 federally recognized tribes within the state would oversee all the sports betting. Proponents of a more open market, however, insisted that these parameters be widened to include commercial online sportsbooks such as FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, FanDuel, etc. When neither side was willing to budge, HF 778 dissipated into nothingness.
This same issue has come to define the legal sports betting in the California debate. The state's tribes have backed a bill that would allow retail sports betting exclusively on tribal lands and horse-racing tracks. A separate bill has been bankrolled by commercial sportsbooks that would allow a select number of corporate operators outside the state to obtain California betting licenses.
Some might not understand why tribes are so against sharing the business of sports betting. And yet, their argument isn't unfounded. Tribes generally worry that commercial sportsbooks pose indomitable competition since they have a bigger reach and more experience handling online operations. They also argue that widely permitting legal online sports betting in general threatens the foot traffic at their brick and mortar casinos. This is why the sports betting bill in California that's backed by the tribes actually wouldn't legalize online gambling. They're trying to preserve the customer base in their on-site locations.
Though Minnesota's most recent sports betting initiative allowed for online gaming, it still reflected the same concern. By refusing to open up the licensing process, they're attempting to ensure they don't have to compete with companies who are much larger and have the means to strip away huge chunks of their business.
Is There a Happy Medium for Minnesota Sports Betting?
Many expect Minnesota sports betting to eventually legalize after tribes and corporate sportsbook operators find common ground. But it isn't actually that simple.
Establishing that happy medium has proven difficult in other areas. Just look at the case of legal sports betting in Florida. The state repealed sports betting after it was already up and running because the Seminole tribe was granted a monopoly over the business. The Seminoles and corporate sportsbooks have since been unable to compromise, and sports betting remains indefinitely tabled throughout the state as a result.
In reality, Minnesota needs another domino to fall. Really, the entire United States does. If one place that has struggled to juggle the dynamics between tribes and corporate sportsbooks figures out how to legalize gambling, there will be many more who invariably follow a similar model.
That sports betting exemplar could be California, thanks to one of their two proposals. The sports betting initiative backed by commercial operators is called the California Solutions for Homelessness and Mental Health Act, and it stipulates, among other things, that corporate sportsbooks must partner up with at least one tribal casino when setting up their online operations. It also calls for commercial odds providers to pay a higher tax on bets placed online.
Many experts around the United States are optimistic this sports betting measure will be the that passes. And if it does, it will provide a blueprint for Minnesota and many other states to do the same.
What Should Minnesota Residents Do In The Meantime?
Anyone who has watched Minnesota handle the sports betting issue will be skeptical they make the necessary adjustments even if California sets a precedent this November. But even the most cautious needn't assume a doom-and-gloom stance. Minnesota is more open-minded to sports betting than other states that haven't legalized it. That they were going to permit online sports betting at all is a pretty good indicator of where they stand. They're not rejecting the concept; they're just haggling over the method of the rollout.
This may ring hollow for sports betting enthusiasts who, no matter what will have to wait at least a year before they place wagers within state lines. But if you're looking to bet on sports in Minnesota, you're not without options. Our reviews of the top online sportsbooks include plenty of sites that will allow Minnesotans to make an account and start submitting bets immediately. This way, you can wait out the state of Minnesota as they deliberate the future of legal sports betting while still actually betting on sports.
Regardless of how you handle the next year or so, though, you should absolutely be doing one thing: crossing your fingers that the 2022 California elections set a standard Minnesota can follow.
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