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Sports betting simplified
Legal sports betting in North Dakota came to the state via tribal gaming operators opening retail sportsbooks at their casinos. Online betting options in North Dakota are limited to advance deposit wagering (horse racing betting sites) and daily fantasy sports apps. Lawmakers have considered several bills to expand North Dakota sports betting options beyond tribal casinos but haven’t yet passed anything into law. Other North Dakota gambling options include tribal casinos, parimutuel wagering at race tracks, and the state lottery, which also offers its games online. Sweepstakes casinos also accept players from North Dakota.
State of North Dakota Sports Betting Overview
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018. On that day, courts voted to allow each state to propose and create its laws and regulations for sports betting. Despite the restriction on sports betting being lifted, North Dakota has yet to legalize the state's activity.
Though sports betting is not legal, that doesn’t mean that other forms of gambling aren’t prevalent in the Peace Garden State. Horse racing, lotteries, charitable gaming venues, and several tribal casinos are available for North Dakota residents. Bettors can play table games and poker and use slot machines at any of the tribal casinos in the state. Wagering or playing in real-money tournaments on daily fantasy websites is also allowed.
Charitable gaming is so popular in North Dakota that around 800 small charitable casinos operate around the state at bars, restaurants, and other locations, offering activities like poker, pull tabs, raffles, bingo, and sports pools, to name a few.
While North Dakota does not operate its lottery, the North Dakota Lottery does allow residents to participate in many other multi-state lotteries.
Regarding sports betting, residents on the state's western side can at least make the short trip across state lines to Montana, which has already legalized sports betting.
During the committee hearing, proponents said sports betting legalization would help maximize state tax revenue and help limit illegal activity at offshore sportsbooks.
The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Stemen, estimates sports betting revenue for the state can reach up to $3.6 million in its first year. Stemen also estimates that 140,000 residents are betting illegally.
State of North Dakota Sports Betting Timeline
Online sports betting in North Dakota is still illegal, but lawmakers are warming to the idea of legalization. Two bills introduced in January 2023 open the door to legalizing online sportsbooks and mobile betting apps, albeit indirectly.
First was HCR 3002, which calls for a Constitutional amendment granting the legislature the authority to legalize and regulate sports betting.
HCR 3002 would not legalize online sports betting in North Dakota by itself. Still, it would clear the biggest hurdle proponents currently face a provision in the North Dakota Constitution that prohibits all gambling except the lottery, charity gaming, and tribal casinos.
Later, lawmakers introduced SB 2358 to create a sports betting task force to “develop a comprehensive statewide implementation plan for online sports betting and regulation.”
If approved, SB 2358 would have the task force create a plan that considers consumer protection, the state’s interests, and various regulatory models. Then, the task force would draft a legislative proposal for the North Dakota legislature.
The first North Dakota sports betting sites are still a long way off, but plans are in motion, and lawmakers are seriously considering different proposals to implement their vision.
As a result, the odds of North Dakota online sports betting becoming a reality are better now than at any time in the past.
The North Dakota legislature has tried to legalize sports betting in the past. Legislators first failed to legalize in 2019 and pass a ballot measure for the 2022 election in 2021.
Tribal-state compacts allow for sports betting on tribal land. There are sportsbooks at three casinos in North Dakota: Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson, 4 Bears Casino and Lodge in New Town, and Sky Dancer Casino & Resort in Belcourt.
In October 2022, the five tribes asked for exclusive rights for sports betting outside tribal land, but Gov. Doug Burgum did not agree to the deal. Burgum did allow the legal gambling age at tribal casinos to drop from 21 to 19.
Of all the states that have yet to legalize sports betting in the US, North Dakota may be one of the states furthest away from doing so.