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White: We want to wager

With plenty of other forms of gambling at our fingertips, why can’t we bet money on sporting events?
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

Gambling is fun. Whether it is the thrill of doubling down a hand of blackjack or simply winning $20 ripping pull tabs, putting money on the line gets the heart pumping.

With casinos littering Minnesota, and pull tabs in just about every bar you walk into, gambling is everywhere. So, why is the line drawn at sports betting?

Sports are an important part of the lives of many Minnesotans. Sixty-five thousand people occupy the US Bank Stadium every Vikings game and create a sea of purple and gold. Fans young and old line the stadiums for every Gopher game. Not to mention the support for the Minnesota Wild – Minnesota is the state of hockey after all.

Sports have been woven into the fabric of Minnesota culture more deeply than just about anywhere else in the nation, maybe even the world. For a state so connected to sports, the banning of sports betting seems bizarre, particularly when you consider that just about any other form of gambling is completely legal in Minnesota.

According to a poll of Minnesotans by KSTP and SurveyUsa, 64% of Minnesotans are in favor of legalizing sports betting. The Minnesota House of Representatives even passed a bill that would legalize sports betting, but it was never voted on by the Senate.

The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) also offered support for the bill in a letter to the senate. In the letter, the MIGA stated the bill “is based on a recognition that tribal gaming has an unblemished reputation and expertise in conducting gambling and thus entrusts tribes to exclusively operate as sports betting license holders.”

Of course, the casinos would be in favor of a bill that is going to legalize another form of gaming at their establishments. It is simply good business. So, why not let them do business? It is far better than the alternative.

For the average Minnesotan sports bettor, you have a couple of options for betting: drive to Wisconsin or some other state where it’s legal, use a shady website like (which is legal only because it operates out of Curacao) or use an app like PrizePicks (which only gets away with it because it is technically betting on fantasy sports).

As a wise friend once told me, technically correct is the best kind of correct. In this case, however, it just leaves you feeling unsure of your legal standing.

The dubious legality of those sites does beg the question: why? Why is it legal to use offshore betting sites or apps that operate through loopholes of what exactly is allowed to be bet on?

Would it not be better for the state to keep that money in Minnesota rather than Wisconsin, Curacao or god knows where else? With so many ways around it already, and so many other forms of gambling completely legitimate in the eyes of the law, why not go the whole nine yards?

The citizens want it, the casinos want it and even the House of Representatives wants it. Plus, the people who really want it are just finding ways around the current laws.

Legalize sports gambling in Minnesota; let the state reap the benefits of the vice. Most of all, let sports fans have a little more skin in the game on Sunday afternoons.

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  • Jay R
    Oct 11, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    I agree. Of all the issues facing Minnesota, not having enough people addicted to gambling should definitely be at the forefront.

    I don’t know how someone could write this, seemingly completely unaware of all the incredibly serious issues that come with gambling.

    From addiction to adding incentive for game fixing in sport, this is just one of the worst takes I’ve ever s
    een published.