A bill that would allow online sports betting to be governed by Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized Native American tribes has been passed by the state’s House.
House Bill 778 was passed after its third reading on May 12, following an amendment. It was first introduced on February 4 2021, initially allowing both tribal and commercial betting.
It was adopted by the Committee for Finance and Policy in March this year, along with House Bill 167, which initially focused on sentencing hearings. Both bills were amended to permit sports betting to be operated by the state’s tribes.
Both bills would permit a maximum issuance of two “master sports betting licenses” in the state. These would only be issued to organizations comprised of two Indian tribes or more.
Of these licences, one will go to an entity with headquarters north of Interstate Highway 94, and one located south of the highway. I-94 stars at the Wisconsin border near Minneapolis and moves northwest before leaving the state near Fargo, North Dakota.
Master licensees may then partner with mobile sports betting operators, which must be owned by Native American tribes and must apply for their own licences. The northern master licensee may partner with up to seven tribes, and the southern licensee with up to four.
As there are seven tribes located north of I-94 and four to the south, every Minnesota tribe would be able to operate sports betting.
The tribes – which would pay an annual sublicensing fee of $2,125 – may in turn partner with a single online platform provider each.
HB778 stipulates that wagers placed on tribal land – that is, placed at a physical location on tribal land – are not subject to taxation.
Net revenue from wagers not placed on tribal land are subject to 10% taxation.
Tribes that wish to operate a mobile sports betting platform must pay a $6,000 application fee, along with a licensing fee of $38,250 after the application is approved or a renewal fee of $8,500.
The bill, which now moves to the Senate, cannot come into effect until Minnesota governor Tim Walz can negotiate new tribal compacts with the state’s 11 tribes to allow Class III sports wagering to take place.