- Minnesota lawmakers plan to move towards regulating online gambling.
- Massachusetts lawmakers are planning for the same in the upcoming year.
- More states could be on the way after this year’s successes.
St. Paul, Minn. - With so many states successfully regulating sports betting in 2021, it’s no surprise that other states now prioritize the issue.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts and Minnesota are working up plans to pass sports betting bills during the 2022 legislative session.
In Minnesota, the issue has been described as “very complex”, while in Massachusetts, it’s been described as “a top-tier issue” by lawmakers.
Minnesota Could Face Trouble With Compacts
The major barrier for sports betting legislation in Minnesota is that there are many compacts with local native tribes that would have to be amended to do so.
Rep. Zach Stephenson, who chairs the House Commerce Committee - which oversees gaming in the state - was clear on the challenges facing sports betting regulation in MN.
“We need to consult on a government to government basis with Minnesota sovereign tribal nations,” Stephenson said. “We also need to listen and work with our professional sports teams, experts in problem gaming and many others as we develop a Minnesota specific plan.”
Stephenson’s argument points out that many neighboring states have regulated sports betting with no problems, and that leaving it unregulated just sends money to those states or to grey market websites that offer sports betting in the state.
Massachusetts Could Regulate In 2022
Massachusetts’ sports betting market seems ripe for regulating - at least according to State Senator Eric Lesser, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
“This has absolutely been a top-tier issue,” Lesser said of sports betting. “It’s been something many of us have been working on, on almost a daily basis. And there’s very active conversations going on.”
As far as what a bill might look like, Lesser wants to start with simply regulating pro sports betting, and discuss college later, viewing the issue of collegiate wagering as divisive, and one that could torpedo a bill.
“Pro sports teams want legalized gambling and have infrastructure in place to support that,” Lesser said. “Why don’t we get started where there’s a consensus?”
It remains to be seen what happens with online gambling cases in states like Florida, but other states will be moving to regulate sports betting at the very least.