Every year since 2018 has seen at least one new state add its name to the roll of states permitting betting on sports and, with 32 states plus Washington DC now having some form of legalized sports wagering, we may be nearing the point where critical mass is reached, and those states who are going to permit sports betting have all done so. However, that point has not yet been reached if the list of states with bills in the works is anything to go by. Among the states on the “Not Yet” list, Minnesota is one contender which may move to the “Yes” category in 2023.
The North Star state is not guaranteed to embrace betting, but such a move became more likely at the polls in 2022. A Bill which had passed the House of Representatives, which was under Democrat control, found itself struck down earlier in the year by a Republican-led Senate. The midterm elections in November, however, saw the Senate swing to a Democrat majority, which increases the chances that the state will look favorably upon a newly-presented Bill in 2023.
Minnesota fulfils a lot of the elements that tend to identify states which will adopt sports betting. The state is home to a number of professional sports teams, with the Vikings a potential Super Bowl contender in the NFL. MLB has the Twins, while the NBA is home to the Timberwolves. The MLS features Minnesota United, so sports fans in the state certainly have teams on which they would be willing to place a bet. Politically, Minnesota is bipartisan, and this also means that the potential revenue-raising opportunities offered by legal sports betting would be looked upon positively by lawmakers.
At present, there is not a lawmaker with a bill ready to present, but that is not expected to remain the case for long, particularly if the Vikings make a run to the Super Bowl. Teams who feature in the February showcase game tend to see a lot of bets placed upon them by locals, which can have financial benefits for those teams. Other title contenders, including the Buffalo Bills (based in New York state) and Philadelphia Eagles (in Pennsylvania) are already seeing increased activity in sportsbook facilities based locally. A successful run for the insurgent Kansas City Chiefs may be enough to force the already bet-curious Missouri congress to get a bill passed this year.
It is likely that any legislation would meet with approval from the residents of Minnesota, who when polled in April of 2022 approved the idea of legal sports betting by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Mobile sports betting, in the same poll, was also approved by a smaller but still significant 3-to-2 majority. While sports betting is certain to have its detractors among the state’s legislators, there is little doubt that there is the public will to see it passed. This, in itself, may move the votes of some wavering lawmakers to back new betting ordnance.