North Dakota Moving Closer to Online Sports Betting With Progress of Bill

  • Sports betting is currently only permitted on tribal land and at casinos in ND
  • The House voted 49-44 in favor of passing the bill in the Senate
  • If the Senate approves the bill it will go to a public vote in November 2024
Wooden blocks progress
A bill is progressing in North Dakota that would legalize online sports betting in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Gaining momentum

An amendment bill that would legalize online sports betting is making progress in North Dakota. The House has passed the legislation, which has now made it all the way to the Senate.

online sports betting under the regulation of the state

House Concurrent Resolution 3002 would change the North Dakota constitution to allow for online sports betting under the regulation of the state. At the moment, the only form of legal sports betting in the state is on tribal land and at casinos.

The bill was initially submitted to the House on January 3. The House recently voted 49-44 in favor of passing the bill.

Drumming up support

Of the dozen representatives who have sponsored the bill, 11 of them are Republicans. These lawmakers are hoping to bring oversight and consumer protection to sports betting in North Dakota.

North Dakotans spend more than $300m each year on betting

According to a report from the American Gaming Association, North Dakotans spend more than $300m each year on betting, whether it is in neighboring states, through illegal bookies, local tribes, or offshore sportsbooks.

The five tribes in North Dakota have previously attempted to get exclusive rights to operate online sports betting statewide, not just on reservations.

Speaking to local media recently, Representative Scott Louser spoke about the need for the online betting bill to progress, saying: “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.”

Further steps

In order to get passage in the Senate, the bill will once again need support from the majority of members. If the Senate vote is successful, it will then go to a public vote in the 2024 general election. This would allow those stakeholders in favor of legalizing online sports betting to educate the public as to the potential merits.

If the public support the measure, lawmakers would then decide in 2025 how to properly regulate the sector and develop rules and regulations.

More than 30 states in the US have legalized sports betting to date since the ending of the federal ban in May 2018.

Efforts in previous years to push through online sports betting legalization have proven unsuccessful in North Dakota. Bills in both 2019 and 2021 did not manage to get enough support in the state Senate to proceed. Those lawmakers who are against gambling expansion believe that it will lead to societal problems and higher levels of addiction.