Is Sports Betting Legal in Minnesota?

Minnesota still appears to be a long ways away from letting residents wager on sports at a land-based sports book, but there remains interest before elected officials return to the state capital in 2019.

Several lawmakers have pushed for legal betting in Minnesota, even before the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban in May 2018, and proponents say betting could be a new revenue source for the state.

Sports betting is “like Sunday liquor sales on cocaine,” state Rep. Pat Garofalo (R—Farmington) said after the Supreme Court ruling, as some statistics estimate it makes up 30 to 40 per cent of the global gambling market, which also includes lotteries, casinos, poker and other gaming.

Minnesota Sports Betting Law

More than 5.5 million people live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. St. Paul is the state capital, while Minneapolis is its largest city with a population of 400,000.

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:

Rules differ from one state to the next, but every state regulates gambling in some fashion. In states that authorize gambling on Native American reservations — like Minnesota — the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act provides the regulatory framework.

All legalized gambling within Minnesota is limited to the following areas:

  • Tribal casino gambling
  • Pari-mutuel wagering
  • Lottery
  • Daily Fantasy Sports
  • Social gambling
  • Charitable gambling

Minnesota is one of four states in the U.S. that allows unrestricted gambling for 18-year-olds. The other three are Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming.

Casino gambling

Minnesota casinos are scattered throughout the state, either on Native American Tribal land or under Native American Indian jurisdiction.

The biggest of the 18 casinos in the state is Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. One of the smallest is Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower.

One quirk of the compacts with the state is that the selection of table games is rather limited. Most of these casinos offer blackjack, slots and bingo only.

Minnesota casino gambling doesn't provide any revenue in the form of taxes to Minnesota. There are fees, however, that compensate the state to some extent for inspections and other items in the tribal agreements.

Horse racing

Minnesota is the home to two horse racing facilities — Canterbury Park for thoroughbreds and Running Aces for standardbreds.

Both racetracks were the beneficiaries of legislative action in 1999 where it was determined that any racetrack which hosted racing for a full year would be eligible to establish “unbanked” card games. This meant poker was coming to the racetracks, but with betting and room size limitations.

State lottery

The Minnesota Lottery was established through a successful voter referendum in 1988. The minimum age to purchase tickets is 18.

The organization offers in-state and multi-state games, including Powerball and Mega-Millions.

Minnesota Sports Betting Laws

Reports show Minnesota is squarely among the next crop of states considering legalized sports betting, but lawmakers will have some work to do with regulations and state-licensing agreements currently in place with tribal casinos.

Early sports betting adaptors have shown a pattern: When one state passes a bill, their neighboring states seem more inclined to follow. This played out in the past with state lotteries and will likely drive sports betting as well.

Not surprisingly, Ohio has filed a sports betting bill in its state legislature. Can Minnesota be far behind?

If residents of Minnesota would prefer to play online anyways, there are some Internet sites just a few clicks away. Many surveys suggest that Bovada is the single best sports book and gambling service available online. Players have been enjoying this site in Minnesota for years.

Minnesota's Favorite Sports Teams

Minnesota Vikings (NFL)

Since the team's first season in 1961, the Minnesota Vikings have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. They are one of only six NFL teams to win at least 15 games in a regular season.

Since the league merger in 1970, the Vikings have qualified for the playoffs 27 times — third-most in the league. The team has played in four Super Bowls, but has yet to win a league championship. They have not made it to the Super Bowl in more than 40 years.

Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

NBA basketball returned to the Twin Cities in 1989 for the first time since the Minneapolis Lakers departed to Los Angeles in 1960.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, led by star player Kevin Garnett, qualified for the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2004. The Wolves won their first division championship in 2004 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals that same season.

Minnesota Twins (MLB)

The Minnesota Twins, who are named for the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, moved from Washington, D.C., to Minnesota for the start of the 1961 season.

The Twins have won six American League pennants and two World Series titles (1987, 1991).

Through the 2017 season, the team has featured 18 AL batting champions, including such stars as Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett and Joe Mauer.

Minnesota Wild (NHL)

The Minnesota Wild was founded on June 25, 1997, but started playing in the 2000-01 season. The team was the first NHL franchise in Minnesota since the North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993.

In the 2002-03 season, the Wild made their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance, making a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals. They have won one division title.

Useful Links

Gambling FAQs - Minnesota Department of Public Safety