We can paint a pretty optimistic picture in a lot of states. There are already a lot of states that are taking bets on sports. There are a lot of states that will be going live in 2020 with retail sports betting, online sports betting, and/or mobile sports betting. There are a lot of states that will go live shortly thereafter when they see how much revenue they are losing to neighboring states that have already legalized betting.
Then there is Minnesota. Minnesota is one of those really tricky states because the casinos are all owned by Native American tribes. Tribal gaming compacts are often sticky wickets for gaming legislation because there are so many unique provisions, rules, and regulations. And those tribes have all the leverage in most states that fall into that category.
They seem to have a lot of leverage in Minnesota. There are 24 gaming facilities in Minnesota owned by 11 of the state’s tribes and the tribes are vehemently opposed to sports betting. It is a shame because North Carolina and Washington are working through sports betting legislation with only tribal casinos involved. Though Michigan has some major corporate properties in Detroit, most of the state’s casinos are tribal gaming facilities.
If the tribes are not on board, sports betting won’t go anywhere. The ace in the hole for Minnesota could be a renegotiation of tribal gaming compacts in an effort to sweeten the pot and get them on board with wagering. Of course, Minnesota could try to move forward independent of the tribes with mobile or online wagering through some other entity, but that seems like it would get very messy, very fast.
Even though states in and around the Great Lakes and the Midwest have been moving forward with legalized betting, it doesn’t look like that will be the case in Minnesota anytime soon. More pressing issues in the state government are likely to take center stage will full-fledged opposition from the tribes and any sort of political spat with the tribes is likely to cause way more harm than good.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Minnesota?
Sports betting won’t be approved in Minnesota for the foreseeable future, so getting your wagers in will require leaving the state. Iowa and Illinois both have legal sports betting. Both states also have a provision in place that requires bettors to sign up in person before getting access to mobile and online betting. That stipulation comes off the books on January 1, 2021 and then full mobile registration will begin, so that will make things easier for Minnesotans that want to bet.
Of course, it isn’t that challenging to take a weekend and drive to one of the brick-and-mortar facilities in order to get signed up. None of the other border states have sports betting, though South Dakota is the closest. Wisconsin faces the same issues as Minnesota with a lot of tribal casinos and North Dakota hasn’t really pursued the issue very much.
At least it is an easy and relative cheap flight from MSP to Las Vegas!
But, in all seriousness, there are options for those that are willing to drive, given that betting in Minnesota is unlikely to be legalized anytime soon.