Government officials in North Dakota are reportedly drafting legislation to potentially legalize sports gambling in the Roughrider State. Republican State House of Representative members Jason Dockter of Bismarck and Thomas Beadle of Fargo are in the process of putting together separate proposals that could allow sports betting in the state. It is reported that they will present these proposals during the 2019 legislative session.
There are, however, several unknowns when it comes to the still to be presented legislation. As is often the case, the topic of collegiate sports betting is a sensitive subject. While most states that legalize sports betting are usually open to professional sports betting – there can be a bit of hesitation when it comes to college sports betting. The fear, of course, is that college sport athletes (who are not paid to participate in NCAA sports) are likely more vulnerable to any illicit persons with influence who may approach them and try to tamper with outcomes when it comes to college sports gambling.
What makes things particularly interesting vis-à-vis college sports betting in North Dakota is that North Dakota does not have any major professional sports teams. Therefore, residents of North Dakota are more likely to focus their sports betting excitement and interests on local college teams. Unfortunately, the NCAA uniformly opposes all sport legal and illegal sports betting when it comes to collegiate sports. Therefore, lawmakers will face an uphill battle if they try to implement college sport betting in the state.
North Dakota tribal casinos, however, are ready to offer sports betting. Therefore, the fastest means to bringing sports betting to the citizens will be via the existing casinos. We expect the tribal casinos to be strong proponents for sports gambling in the state. Once North Dakota lawmakers get any proposed sports betting legislation passed – the casinos will likely swiftly commence wit sports gambling.
Overall, it appears that legalized sports betting will, in all likelihood, be coming to North Dakota at some point in 2019. The main issue will be whether or not college sports betting is part of the proposed legislation. In order for sports betting to be legal in the state – the state constitution will need to be amended. The good news is that the majority of lawmakers appear to be in favor of sport betting in the Roughrider State – the issue will be whether or not they can get enough votes and support for the upcoming sports betting measures. If we were to bet on it – we’d say sports betting will be a reality at some point in North Dakota in the next year.