Minnesotans are not all-in when it comes to legal sports betting, according to results of a Minnesota Public Radio News/Star Tribune/KARE 11 poll released Sunday. About 48% of those polled favor legal wagering while 33% don’t and 19% are undecided.
Minnesota is one of 14 states in which no form of legal wagering is currently allowed. Neighbors Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota have all legalized, while Wisconsin allows limited in-person wagering at tribal casinos. Northern neighbor Ontario in Canada went live with digital wagering in April.
According to the survey, at least 50% of registered and polled Democrats and Republicans support legalization, though only 40% of registered Independents do. Respondents to the poll did support legalizing recreational marijuana.
Minnesota lawmakers have tried multiple times to legalize wagering, but state officials have been unable to reach agreement with the state’s 11 tribes on what that would look like. Tribes in Minnesota currently have a monopoly on gaming and operate brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the state.
During the 2022 session, the House passed a tribal-only, in-person and digital wagering bill, but the Senate balked, saying it wanted more entities, like racetracks, to be included. In addition, while the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association early in the session lent its support to HF 778, it withdrew that support when the Senate amended the bill to include entities outside of the tribes.
Nearly half of those in metro areas in support
Minnesota lawmakers have been discussing legal wagering since 2018, and this year was the furthest a bill has ever moved in either chamber. Last fall, the state’s professional sports teams joined the conversation, with a Vikings representative saying the team “wants a seat at the table,” though the pro teams have not made as big of a push as those in Georgia, Massachusetts, or Missouri, the latter of which saw a coalition of teams and casinos essentially write legislation this session that did not pass. Rep. Pat Garofalo, who has been championing wagering from the start, has plans to revisit the issue in 2023.
Representative @PatGarofalo (R) said he wants to continue to work with tribes and professional sports teams, among others, to make sports betting legal like it is in surrounding states and Canada.https://t.co/zb2ol4MVI9
— News Talk 830 WCCO (@wccoradio) September 16, 2022
According to the poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy and analyzed by AMP Research labs, wagering isn’t among the top 10 issues that concern Minnesotans. Jobs and the economy top the list.
Digging deeper, the poll showed that 53% of those living in the northern part of the state support legal wagering, but 39% of those living in the southern part of the state don’t. Interestingly, the state’s only major metropolitan area, Minneapolis/St. Paul, is located in the southern part of the state, and 50% of those in the suburbs and 48% of those in Hennepin (Minneapolis) and Ramsey (St. Paul) counties support legal wagering.
The poll was conducted Sept. 12-14 and included 800 registered voters contacted by phone.