As a Minnesota sports betting bill slowly makes its way through the legislature, residents of the North Star State are throwing their support behind the idea of legalized sports betting.

According to a KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll of 556 registered voters, 64% of Minnesota respondents say sports betting should be legal.  HF 778, a bill to legalize retail and online sports betting for the state’s 11 Native American Tribes, is currently being considered in the powerful Minnesota Ways and Means Committee. If approved by the committee, it could move to the Minnesota House of Representatives for a hearing and potential vote.

The KSTP poll revealed that only 17% of respondents oppose the bill, while 19% are undecided.

According to the poll results, 72% of male respondents approved of legalized sports betting compared with just 55% of female respondents. Interestingly, political affiliation had little effect on the respondents, as 65% of Republicans surveyed approved of legalized sports betting compared with 67% of Democrats.

Minnesota sports betting bill details

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.

The bill will bring consumer protections to the state and help address problem gaming, with 40% of sports betting tax revenues earmarked for such programs. It’s one of the highest percentages of tax revenues dedicated to problem gaming in the entire country, Stephenson noted.

The bill sets the minimum age of participation at 21.

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