Despite the efforts of local campaigners, sports betting would probably stay out of Minnesota for the time being.
Last week, the chair of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, Charles Vig, addressed Governor Tim Walz and the four legislative leaders in a letter to inform them that local Indian tribal nations were not interested in expanding their existing operations with sports betting services. Moreover, as explained in Mr. Vig in the letter, the tribes have the intention of opposing legislation passage which would make Minnesota part of the states with legal sports betting. He wrote that the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is still against the expansion of off-reservation gambling, sports betting legalization included.
@NCSLorg How do I get my State more involved with considering sports betting? Indian Gaming Association is opposing. They are looking at their best interest and the State should look at it in their best interest. State of Minnesota is where I am located pic.twitter.com/BjHhql5Jk6
— Rob Wilkins of FIGHTFUL (@robwilkins) January 14, 2019
Minnesota’s seven tribes which own and operate casinos across the state are to work hand in glove with some allies, such as for example the Citizens Against Gambling Expansion group, to block sports betting bills in 2019. Still, Mr. Vig did not fully deny an eventual tribes’ interest in sports betting but asked Minnesota lawmakers not to rush things up.
The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, which does not want their profits cut into?
— a Joel Eriksson Ek account (@Rick6251997) January 14, 2019
Despite the fact that the local Indian tribes do not have a veto over non-tribal gambling operations but their opinion is still influential. The existing federal laws require from the states to make an agreement in good faith in order to allow Native American tribes to offer the same types of gambling which are legally available outside reservation lands.
Will Minnesota Take Advantage of Supreme Court’s Sports Betting Ruling?
As CasinoGamesPro has reported at the time, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling at the end of May 2018, which cleared the way for states to decide for themselves whether to offer sports betting or not. It ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in the Murphy v. NCAA case, removing the federal ban which was imposed on sports betting operations by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).
As a result of the market’s liberalization, many US states rolled out measures to legalize sports betting and take advantage of the long-desired expansion of the sector. Minnesota was no different. A draft bill was presented to local lawmakers at the end of the 2018 session but no formal bill was filed on the matter. A sports betting legalization bill is being prepared by the group of the expansion’s supporters, led by Senator Roger Chamberlain.
Senator Chamberlain, who also chairs the Senate Taxes Committee, commented on the tribes’ position on sports betting addition to the state’s gambling market. Still, remained optimistic, as the matter would be subject to discussions. According to Chamberlain, the addition of another form of gambling to the existing gambling sector in Minnesota would be a great thing for the state, non-tribal gambling and even for the tribes.
Legal advisors, however, say that sports betting legalization would make local Indian tribes face some hard choices. Under the provisions of federal law, Native American nations are allowed to offer gambling services within the reservations’ boundaries only, which basically means that online gambling might not be available for the tribes to offer, but non-tribal sports books would be allowed to provide their customers with remote gambling services.