North Dakota prepares sports betting legislation

The state could soon approve sports gambling within its borders

Two bills are now being sent to the legislative floor in North Dakota in an attempt to bring sports gambling to the state. Both are very similarly worded, but one would outlaw wagers on amateur sports – a move seen often in other states. Additionally, the pair of bills were drafted to comply with current state laws, which only allow gambling by Native Indian tribes on their protected land, or through certain charitable organizations.

House Bill 1254 and House Bill 1295 are now on the Legislative Assembly docket – 1295 being the version that would prohibit amateur sports gambling. If either is able to find approval all the way through the political channels, it could be possible that the state would begin seeing bets made sometime this year.

For that to happen, though, both bills need to have more language added. Neither talks about critical regulations and taxes, which would most likely need to be included for the legislation to receive approval.

There is an additional option in the works to see sports gambling come to North Dakota. Some elected officials are trying to get an amendment to the state’s constitution put on the ballot for voters to decide next year. If the voters approve the measure (provided it’s accepted for the ballot), it would still be at least another year before any final changes to the constitution are made.

Online gaming was not specifically addressed in either HB 1254 or HB 1295; however, the co-sponsor of HB 1254, Jason Dockter, said that he would hope that eligible gaming operators would work with third-party vendors in order to launch both gambling kiosks and online mobile apps.

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