Minnesota and Arizona have reportedly been mulling over the idea of sports betting legalization. Both states have a sizeable sports market given the amount of franchises there. If these potential sports bills come to pass, we are looking at 2 key players in the US sports gambling overhaul.
Representative Pat Garofalo is behind Minnesota’s efforts. There hasn’t been any formal bill introduced yet, but there is apparently one in the works. Minnesota has numerous gambling options in both casinos and race tracks. The casino locations are run by Native American tribes, which normally poses a problem when it comes to gambling legislation, but Minnesota has more wiggle room to introduce new gambling forms. There are some statutes that would need to be considered and possibly amended, but technically the state as no binding compacts or contractual obligations to the tribes on this front. However, this does not mean Minnesota will do whatever they want. Garofalo intimated that he would seek tribal approval on any bill put forward.
Given the number of sports franchises in the state, it is safe to assume most residents want betting options. Most betting takes place through licensed offshore sportsbook sites, and while these are US friendly they give nothing back to the states in terms of revenue. Garofalo wants to emulate the regulated safe marketplace present in countries like the United Kingdom to help attract US bettors to domestic based sites. Once the gambling laws permit states to host their own betting options, they can implement regulated frameworks that keep consumers safe.
Arizona also a huge sports market with multiple major franchises. They too have tribal run casino locations and some horse racing tracks. The difference with Arizona is that they will have a tougher time getting past the tribes in their state. Any type of legislation must be worked out alongside the tribes as part of a state compact agreement. With only 2 weeks left in AZ’s legislative session, getting a bill signed into law is an impossible task given the political pace of things.
Senator Sonny Borelli is behind sports betting and sees it as a future revenue source. AZ teachers recently began demanding a 20% raise and Borelli thinks that sports betting could help provide financial relief towards that end. It would reportedly cost around $600 million to meet their demands, which is money the state does not have.
The MLB and NBA have remained quiet pertaining these 2 states, but you can be sure there are representatives making contact with local lawmakers. Minnesota’s Garofalo confirmed he was in talks with both leagues. This means the Minnesota bill will make provisions for integrity fees and potential data exclusivity rights. Arizona’s situation is unclear. Regardless, neither state will likely get a bill in this legislative session. Perhaps that is for the better, as both states will then have time to work out a solid framework for domestic venues and USA friendly sportsbook sites.