While Minnesota sports teams have been unable to bring any championships home to the North Star State, Minnesota has managed to be the best at one thing: stopping the statewide legalization of sports betting.
According to the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), with Minnesota having yet to legalize sports betting along with 14 other states, our state has become a defacto last-place finisher in a survey reflecting the friendliness of sports betting markets nationwide.
To add salt to the wound that is the revenue the state is missing out on, Minnesota sits stagnant as an island surrounded by our four neighbors Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, who have all either fully or partially legalized sports betting.
Even if you are not a sports bettor and have no interest in ever becoming one, there are still reasons why the general public should be on board with the legalization of sports betting.
Simply put, the legalization of sports betting will lead to more tax revenue for the state while also phasing out the illegal betting markets.
The best example of how legal sports betting can benefit the state and taxpayers comes from the CCC’s evaluation of the betting market in New Jersey.
"New Jersey has generated $229,109,885 in state tax revenue and $1,815,719,871 in sportsbook revenue since the legal market was launched. The reasons for New Jersey’s success are simple: they keep taxes low on sportsbooks, mobile sports betting has become a priority, and while there is government oversight, most of the industry is run by commercial sportsbooks. This could be easily replicated in Minnesota," said CCC North American Affairs Manager David Clement.
Aside from the obvious benefits of the state generating more money, there is also the opportunity for Minnesota residents to save some money as well.
With Iowa being the closest neighbor for Steele County residents to visit and place bets, the possibility of locally-owned sports books coming to town would allow residents to save some gas money as well.
For reference, Diamond Jo Worth Casino in Northwood, Iowa is located 48 miles south of downtown Owatonna.
With gas prices reaching near $5 per gallon, driving 96 miles round trip is a pretty steep price to pay to lay a wager.
As has been the case with the topic of the legalization of sports betting in Minnesota in the past, local government and Minnesota’s Native American tribes will have to find a happy medium for a bill to be passed.
With 2022 already half over, it will be interesting to see how bills legalizing sports betting pass in the House and Senate as we head towards 2023.