Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Running Out of Time in Legislature

USA Legal Betting


  • The Minnesota House will begin to discuss the bill today
  • The 2024 legislative session ends on May 20
  • If the bill fails, HHR games will remain legal for another year

Last minutes hopes for legal Minnesota sportsbooks are dimming quickly as the 2024 legislative session winds down. The bill, which Rep. Zach Stephenson re-worked last week, must be passed by the end of the 2024 legislative session on May 20.

While the new bill circumvented a key roadblock in the Senate Finance Committee but has yet to gather enough votes in the House. That is a bad sign, considering that many assumed that getting the bill passed there would be the easiest part of the process. The House did have a 12-hour session Wednesday but didn’t have a chance to even begin discussing the bill.

The Minnesota House will meet today to discuss the bill. It is expected to pass, but that won’t leave much time for the Senate to vote on the issue. That is a problem, considering that many of these past efforts have died in the Senate.

If the bill is not passed by both the House and Senate by May 20, Minnesota will need to wait at least one more year to join the list of legal betting states.

Legalization in 2025 Could be More Difficult

A big reason the latest effort to legalize the sports betting industry failed was that the sports betting bill was added to an existing bill. This allowed it to pass by the Senate Finance Committee, which has refused to sign off on any sports betting bill without aggressive restrictions. If the current effort fails, you can bet that the Committee will do everything it can to prevent this type of move in the future.

On top of the legal roadblocks, sports betting has created a major battle between the state’s federally recognized tribes and local horse tracks as they battle for rights to launch retail sportsbooks and sports betting apps of their own.

Historical Horse Racing Likely to Continue into 2025

The current sports betting bill was combined with a different bill that would outlaw Historical Horse Racing (HHR) games. These are games offered at local horse tracks, allowing bettors to wager on old classic races. There are many legislatures who believe that this comes dangerously close to gambling, so the tracks have tried to have them included with any expansion of sports betting.

HHR games have been a strong source of revenue for these tracks, and they won’t give it up without a fight. While there have been talks of giving them the ability to open sportsbooks or get a cut of the revenue, the industry would be controlled by the state’s tribes. Those tribes have been at odds with the tracks, making compromise increasingly unlikely.

The move to combine the latest sports betting bill with the one banning these games was not received well by the tracks. That will likely mean a more intense campaign coming from them in 2025.