North Dakota Senate Votes Against N.D. Sports Betting Bill

  • North Dakota sports betting bill was the second attempt to expand gaming in the state this legislative session.
  • Republicans hold the majority of seats in the North Dakota Senate.

BISMARK, N.D. – Those looking forward to legal North Dakota sports betting will seemingly have to wait until new state senators are elected. On Monday, the Republican majority N.D. legislative chamber shot down a sports betting bill by a 38-7 vote, due mostly in part to moral opposition.

The bill, ND HB 1245, was the second attempt for state officials trying to create laws surrounding gambling on sports.

Had it passed, it would have permitted wagering on both collegiate and professional sporting events and sportsbooks would have been limited to current tribal gaming facilities. The tax rate would have only been 1% of gross take under $1.5 million per quarter, and 2.5% gross take for anything higher.

While many were hopeful for N.D. sports betting legislation to be passed this time around, the bill faced challenges even in the House.

First introduced by House Representative Jason Dockter, ND HB 1245 had to go through two rounds of debates and was voted on twice before being passed to the Senate. However, once it made it there, members went for a straight vote without any proper hearing.

“Sports betting is bad for social, economic, and governmental policy,” said North Dakota Senator Richard Marcellais.

The moral issues concerning sports wagering stem from the state’s long-time opposition to gambling. There are no commercial casinos in North Dakota, no scratch-off tickets, and members of the Republican party have often cited that gambling expansion targets the poor and can lead to addiction.

Supports of North Dakota sports betting argue that the taxes collected from the activity would be used to combat gambling addiction and help fund other charitable causes.

State officials will have until May 2 to be able to introduce another bill, but there have been no current reports indicating that they will. As more states expand their gaming operations to include gambling on sports, North Dakota legislative members will continue to contest whether or not to do the same.

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