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Minnesota Sports Betting Bill Bans In-Game Wagering

Can US-facing sports betting operators make a profit without the revenue generated by in-game wagering? If a new bill legalizing sports betting in Minnesota passes into law, they will definitely find out. Lawmakers in the Land of 1,000 Lakes are hoping that the absence of in-game wagering will reduce problem gambling when sports betting is legalized but operators might find that operating without that revenue stream may mean that won’t operate in Minnesota at all.

Sen. Jordan Rasmusson (R) added the amendment to SF 1949 as part of a four-part plan to reduce problem gambling. Besides the in-game betting ban, Rasmusson wants to create a problem gambling hotline, a robust framework for self-exclusion, and to commission studies on how best to fight problem gambling.

Sen. John Marty (D) supported Rasmusson’s plans as part of an effort to be ready for the inevitable problems that arise when legal sports betting comes to town. “I have no problem with gambling, most people are doing what they want to do anyway, but when you allow a predatory industry, that’s when you have problems,” he told Legal Sports Report.

But not everyone in the Minnesota capitol thinks that removing a product that frequently accounts for 50 percent of the revenue at a sportsbook is such a great idea. Pat Garafalo (R) came out against the amendment saying, “The MN Senate change to sports gambling bill to eliminate in-game wagering is unworkable. No state in the country has this type of ban. If sports gambling is going to happen this session, this poison pill will need to be removed.”

A separate amendment banning wagers on college sports, which account for around 40 percent of sports betting revenue was killed in committee.