The state House of Representatives approved a ballot measure for voters to decide if online sports betting should be legal in North Dakota. This means that the sports betting amendment bill moved to Senate after House approval.
Titled House Concurrent Resolution No. 3002, the bill outlines an amendment to section 25 of article 11 of North Dakota’s Constitution. The amendment would allow sports betting to be permitted by, and regulated by, the state of North Dakota. At this point, sports betting is permitted only at tribal lands and land-based casinos. The bill was first introduced at the state House on 3 January. It was passed to the Senate after its second reading on 12 January, after House members voted 49-44.
North Dakota State Rep. Greg Stemen’s resolution would not make sports betting legal; instead, it would let voters decide if lawmakers should legalize sports betting in the Peace Garden State. Stemen said the American Gaming Association estimates as many as 138,000 North Dakotans are betting over $300 million annually, including $30 million in revenues to offshore betting books. However, opponents argued the measure would worsen gambling addictions and lead to ruined lives.
Additionally, 12 Representatives sponsor the bill, consisting of 11 members of the Republican party and one Democrat. And to pass, the bill must again receive a majority vote, this time from the Senate. This means that if successful, the motion would place on the ballot for the 2024 general election.
History of sports betting legalization in North Dakota
Initially, laws to legalize sports betting in North Dakota came into effect in December 2021. While sports betting has been legalized, at this point, bets can only be made in person. Players can bet in three tribal casinos in the state.
Two bills were introduced to the legislature in 2019, one which would allow fully legalized sports betting and one just for professional sports. But both failed to gain any traction, with HB1254 passing through the House but falling in a landslide 38-7 vote in the Senate. Another attempt in 2021 also did not progress.
Read about other states going live with legal sports betting: Ohio: The first state to launch legal betting in 2023
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