Minnesota Lawmakers Look To Appease Racetracks With Sports Betting Bill Amendments

Written By Giovanni Shorter on May 5, 2023
Minnesota Sports Betting Bill

Minnesota lawmakers are currently pushing HF 2000 in the House and joint bill SF 1949 in the Senate. Both measures would regulate online sports betting in Minnesota but have seen pushback from the two local horse racing tracks. Sen. Matt Klein has proposed amendments that would benefit these racetracks in hopes to gain their support.

Will this be enough?

Minnesota Racetracks Oppose Sports Betting Measures

The initial opposition to the sports betting measure is that it would give local tribes exclusive rights to sports betting. Racetracks believe this would alienate them from the industry and thus they oppose the measure. Local tribes and pro teams have already voiced their support for the measure in its current form.

The amendments would see 30% of the total income from sports betting allocated to Minnesota horse racing facilities. Revenue would go to the Horse Racing Economic Development Fund until $20M has been funded. Following this, there will be a $3 million per year cap on contributions.

This would cut the racetracks in on the industry. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to sway operators. In response to the proposed amendments, representatives from both Canterbury Park and Running Aces claim that the amendments would not be enough to offset the potential losses from regulated sportsbooks.

What racetracks want is direct participation in sports betting. Essentially, retail sportsbooks at racetracks or online licenses of their own.

“History has shown that this type of expansion of gambling will cause the loss of significant economic benefit to the Minnesota horse industry and the state of Minnesota,” said Randy Sampson, CEO of Canterbury Park. “Sports betting in other states has resulted in minimal decreases in slot revenue. However, wagering on horse races and table games as we have at our racetracks has seen a much larger negative impact.”

Operators are also against the $3 million cap per year part of the amendment and believe this would hinder racetracks.

“We believe it’s in the best interests of the state for all the stakeholders to work together to make sports betting successful,” continued Sampson. “Putting a cap on the revenues to the horse racing industry does not provide the incentive needed for a collaborative approach.”

Next Steps For Lawmakers

The proposed amendments were still adopted by the committee and will advance forward alongside the bill. The amendments also included ensuring that all sportsbooks launch on the same day, alterations to existing advertising rules, and tasks all advertisers to include the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline on all campaigns.

Lawmakers will continue to deliberate the measures in both legislative chambers. The ongoing feud between supporters of this measure and the opposition from racetracks doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. Lawmakers may need to find another form of compromise to appease operators.

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Giovanni Shorter

Giovanni Shorter is a sports enthusiast and writer with a passion for the legal and industry side of the sports betting market. Giovanni got his education from Florida State University where he honed his writing style writing narratives and short stories. He has spent his professional career covering sports and entertainment through articles and blogs and continues to look at the industry from multiple angles.

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