• HB1254 would have permitted wagering on both professional and collegiate sporting events.
  • The bill was killed by a vote of 38-7 in the Senate on Monday.
  • Wagering on collegiate events may have been the hot-button issue in the state.

BISMARK, N.D. – Being in the Senate for only one month, the bill that would have legalized sports betting at tribal casinos and through charitable organizations in North Dakota has been rejected.

ND HB1254 was one of two measures put forth in the Roughrider State to legalize sports wagering. Both are now officially off the table for discussion.

The Senate voted down HB 1254 by a vote of 38-7 on Monday without any debate to back it up. The bill had originally failed passage in the House last month but was reconsidered on a same-day afternoon vote.

Sponsored by Representatives Jason Dockter (R- Bismark) and Michael Howe (R- West Fargo), HB1254 would have permitted wagering on both professional and amateur sporting events, including in-state college teams.

However, the in-state collegiate betting may be the idea that caused the bill to be shot down.

Earlier in the month, Mark Hagerott, Chancellor for the North Dakota University System, testified about collegiate wagering when the Senate first open discussion on the bill.

His thought was that tampering would be prevalent and corruption scandals would rule the media, instead of the benefits from tax contributions. Dockter and Howe attempted to negate this belief by explaining how unregulated sports betting was occurring already without any corruption scandals and this effort would only legalize the industry and “keep that money in North Dakota for charities”; however, the Senate seemed to already make up their mind about axing the bill.

Hagerott continued to explain how student-athletes are “vulnerable” due to their inability to make money all while having the ability to make other people money betting on their games.

“We would like to protect the student-athletes here.”

With a vote that strong in opposition of the measure, it appears North Dakota will take some time before becoming another state with a legal and regulated sports wagering industry.

South Dakota also had a measure in place but voted against any gambling expansion in early March.

If it were up to Senator Richard Marcellais (D- Belcourt), North Dakota would never legalize the industry due to it being “bad for social, economic and governmental policy.”

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