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Release: Chair Stephenson Announces Effort to Legalize Sports Betting in Minnesota

Thursday, November 4, 2021

ST. PAUL, MN – This morning, House Commerce Committee Chair Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) held a press conference to announce his intention to pursue the legalization of sports betting in Minnesota. The Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction includes gambling policy.

“Minnesotans deserve the chance to engage in safe and legal sports betting right here in Minnesota,” said Chair Stephenson. “That is why I am announcing I will lead an effort to legalize sports betting during the next regular session of the Legislature.” 

To date, the surrounding states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois have all legalized online or retail sports betting. Since the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state authorization of sports betting in 2018, 29 states and Washington D.C. offer sports betting. Three others have legalized it but are not in operation yet.

“I have heard from Minnesotans across the state who are interested in having the same opportunities that our neighbors have,” Stephenson added.  “This will be the most significant change to Minnesota’s gaming laws in many years. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We will need to work carefully with those who have the expertise necessary to ensure this is done right, in particular our sovereign tribal nations, but also our professional sports teams, experts in problem gaming and many others.”

The 2022 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 31.  Between now and then, Stephenson intends to consult on a government-to-government basis with tribal leaders, as well as other legislators, stakeholders, and community members to develop legislation that will be introduced early in session.