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North Dakota House Approves Sports Betting Bill, Senate Up Next

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated January 16, 2023
8 min read
  • Last Week, the North Dakota House Passed Legislation to Legalize Sports Betting

  • In 2021, a Similar Measure Passed the House but Failed Twice in the Senate.

  • AGA Reports That North Dakota Residents Spent $300M Annually on Gambling

North Dakota House Sports Betting Bill

Last Week, the North Dakota House Passed Legislation to Legalize Sports Betting

Legal sports betting has become a rather tricky issue in the state of North Dakota because the native tribes there already claim the right to engage in that market thanks to existing agreements even though it is technically against the law to offer sports betting there.

Now that could all change, according to Capitol reporter Jack Dura of the Bismarck Tribune (BT), since the state House just approved a sports betting bill – House Concurrent Resolution 3002 – with a 49-44 vote, and now that measure must pass the muster of the state Senate.

It’s all in an effort to “regulate and bring oversight and consumer protections to sports betting” in that state, says the BT, since bettors there are currently pumping millions of dollars into unregulated offshore sportsbooks and in neighboring states where that activity is already legal.

That loss of potential tax revenue must be put to an end according to Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, who recently told the Flickertail State public:

"Let's trust the North Dakota voters with this question, and if passed, collect the revenue in North Dakota rather than sending the revenue from our residents to other states that have authorized sports betting.”

It’s something that has already been tried and failed in that state.

In 2021, a Similar Measure Passed the House but Failed Twice in the Senate

Dura’s BT report indicates that “a similar measure as this one passed the House in 2021 but failed narrowly, twice, in the Senate after similar bills fell short in 2019,” a sign that there is a willingness in North Dakota to proceed with this issue despite the pushback that exists.

That opposition to legalizing sports gambling there comes from state leaders like Rep. Lori VanWinkle, R-Minot, who, according to the BT, has told the media:

"I see gambling as something that chases fantasies and fuels the spirit of lust, which is unable to be satisfied with its constant thirst for more. There is no regard for those whose lives it ruins in the course of its path to get what it wants."

A fair point that ignores the fact that sports gambling is already happening there but without the ability to regulate or tax it in any way, this move to legalize the activity is a chance to better control that market and minimize the risks it brings to the participants.

AGA Reports That North Dakota Residents Spent $300M Annually on Gambling

Over thirty U.S. states have already made sports betting legal for their residents thanks to the Supreme Court overturning PASPA in May 2018 thereby allowing those territories to legalize, regulate and tax their own such markets, now a multi-billion dollar industry.

According to the BT report, the American Gaming Association reports that North Dakota residents already spend over $300 million annually placing sports bets via illegal bookies, offshore sportsbooks, neighboring states, and the local native tribes.

That’s money that North Dakota could be taxing and using that revenue to further aid residents in need, now in the hands of the state Senate who will debate and eventually vote on House Concurrent Resolution 3002.

Should it pass through the Senate, it would be left up to the voters to decide in November 2024, plenty of time for proponents to enlighten the public as to the benefits of legalizing that market, an unfolding story that we will keep you up to date on so do check back for all the latest news.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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