Start-up week reignites push for legal sports betting in Minnesota

- It’s business start-up week in the Twin Cities, and one of the potential ventures that entrepreneurs are looking to jump into is sports gambling.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court cleared the path for states to adopt sports gambling, and while it hasn’t happened yet in Minnesota, start-ups are already thinking about it.

Minnesota is still a long ways away from letting you legally wager on the outcome of your Vikings game, but entrepreneurs are already waging their own potential business plans on what sports gambling in Minnesota may look like.

During the gathering, sports fantasy expert and founder of fanball.com Paul Charchian said sports gambling in Minnesota could go several ways.

“For consumers, what sports betting is going to look like is one of two ways: one, we may see sports books pop up at Mystic Lake or Treasure Island or one other brick and mortar casino with sports books. But much more so than that, we will be able to place bets on our phones, in the middle of games, and be able to play directly from our phones and our computers in fashion that doesn’t physically require us to be somewhere,” he said.  

The concept of placing a bet in real time while the athletes actually play a game is a form of wagering called “in-game” gambling.

Charchian says it’s already huge overseas.

“In Europe, in-game gambling is very popular. In the middle of a soccer game you can still bet on the outcome of the game or who will score next; you can do that on baseball or any sport here as well. You don’t have to do it from your phone, but you are going to want to do it from your phone and that’s the best place for these things whether you are in the stadium or you are at home you can wager on the outcome of the game while it is happening.”  

It’s not the form of gambling that Americans are used to. For a typical gambler, it could be new a form of wagering driven by smart phones, sports data and fans wanting more interactivity with their favorite sport, even their favorite stars.

“I think that is something that’s coming to the United States - maybe not at the level that it is in Europe. But, I think we’re going to see some companies like ours offer products that appeal to fans who want that interactive experience with the sports that they are watching verses the passive experience of just watching the players and having nothing to do during the game,” said Teague Orgeman, CEO and co-founder of Starting 11.  

Currently only four states have adopted sports betting laws since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it this spring.

This is not something that the Minnesota legislature is likely to jump into quickly, and any new law here would need the approval of our tribes who already have a number of casinos across the state.

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