A Minnesota sports betting bill, which would legalize online and retail sports betting at tribal casinos, was approved by another House committee Tuesday afternoon.

Despite its approval, the bill still has a long way to go before Minnesota residents can begin placing bets on their favorite teams.

Sports betting bill narrowly passed

The House State Finance and Government Elections Committee narrowly approved the bill 7-5 after a full-day of discussion and interviews. Bill HF 778 now moves to the Minnesota House’s Judiciary Committee.

The bill was approved by the Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee last week.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), will legalize in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and create up to two master online sports betting licenses for state tribes. The 11 Minnesota tribes will have control over the state’s online sports betting. It will not allow the state’s race tracks to offer sports betting in any capacity.

Originally, the bill noted the sports betting age would be set at 18. However, Stephenson said the bill would be amended in the House Judiciary Committee to raise the minimum age to 21 after it faced criticism from state legislators.

Master online sports betting licenses

In addition to legalizing retail sports betting for tribal casinos, the bill will allow up to two “master mobile sports betting licenses,” valid for 20 years, to organizations comprised of two or more Minnesota Indian Tribes. One license will be granted to an organization with Indian Tribes located in the north of the state while the second license will go to tribes in the south.

Each tribe in a licensed organization will be able to partner with an online sportsbook company to operate their sportsbook app.

There are 11 federally recognized tribes in Minnesota. Four Dakota Tribes have reservations south and west of Minneapolis and St. Paul, while seven Ojibwe/Chippewa reservations are located north of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The tribes own and operate 19 casinos in the state.

The following tribes will be eligible to offer retail and/or online sports betting if the bill is approved:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Prairie Island Indian Community
  • Red Lake Nation
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
  • Upper Sioux Community
  • White Earth Nation

Competing Senate sports betting bill

Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-38) introduced a bill last month that is very similar to Stephenson’s bill. However, Chamberlain’s bill will allow state race tracks to also offer retail and online sports betting in addition to Minnesota Tries.

Bill SF 547 does not yet have a scheduled hearing.