Sports Betting Bills Filed in MS, MA, and MN
The push towards gambling legalization in several states continue. This time around, three states are looking to legalize or expand sports betting. Mississippi lawmakers are looking to expand sports betting to allow online sports betting in the state.
In Massachusetts, lawmakers will again consider legalizing sports betting. The measure failed in 2020. Finally, Minnesota is looking to legalize sports betting with a bipartisan proposal.
Mississippi Looking to Legalize Online Sports Betting
Mississippi is one of those states where they are ok with gambling, provided that it is severely restricted. Live gambling is legal but online gambling has never received a legitimate shot to this date. Lawmakers are hoping this changes in 2021 as State Senator Philip Moran has filed a bill to legalize online sports betting.
SB 2732 seeks to legalize online sportsbooks in Mississippi. Sports betting is presently only legal in-state casinos. If passed, MS would have the lowest cost of entry for sportsbooks. Manufacturer licensing fees are just $1,000. A seller or distributor will only pay $500 for a license. Where the state will make its money is on taxes. The state will use a sliding scale with a top rate of 8% of gross revenue per month.
Senator Moran believes that the state is leaving money on the table by not authorizing online sports betting. Out of the three bills in consideration, Mississippi probably has the longest odds as the state has shown little interest in online gambling to this point.
Sports Betting Bill Gets Another Chance in Massachusetts
Last year, a sports betting bill made its way through the House but failed to pass in the Senate. Lawmakers will try again in 2021. Senator Brendan Crighton has filed a new bill for 2021, looking to legalize sports betting in the state.
For Massachusetts, casinos will have to pay a licensing fee of $10 million to offer sports betting along with a renewal fee of $1.25 million every five years. Also, casinos will pay 15% of revenue in taxes. The state would get about $100 million in application fees and around $45 million in taxes each year.
Governor Charlie Baker supports the push to legalize sports betting and even introduced his own bill last year. The bill failed last year because the state Senate failed to vote on it before the end of the legislative session. This time around, prospects look good that the bill will get over the finish line. We predict this bill to have a 75% chance of passing.
Sports Betting Bill Coming to Minnesota
Minnesota lawmakers are looking to legalize sports betting. Representative Patrick Garofalo and Democratic Senator Karla Bigham are co-sponsoring a bill to bring sports betting to Minnesota. According to Garafalo, “Allow consumers to have a safe experience, have good consumer protections, and at the same time defunding some organized crime that might be taking place with that money.”
According to the lawmakers, sports betting could bring as much as $50 million in tax revenue each year to the state. However, there are challenges to getting this bill passed.
First, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is opposed to sports betting. They are opposed to any expansion of off-reservation gambling, and that includes sports betting. Rep. Garofalo has proven realistic regarding the bill’s chances and believes that it is unlikely that the bill passes. He still urges constituents to contact lawmakers in support of the bill.
We agree with Garofalo that sports betting is unlikely to pass in Minnesota this year. States that have tribal interests usually have a difficult time expanding gambling, at least in the short-term. Over time, this will change, but unless something dramatic happens in the state, it won’t happen in 2021.