• North Dakota could have legal sports betting by August 2023 if the Senate passes a duo of bills that have been placed before them after receiving passage in the House.
  • ND HB 1234 would make retail sports wagering kiosks legal as well as mobile sportsbook applications after an undetermined period of time from the retail launch.
  • Presently, there is a 16-month wait for mobile sports gaming platforms to go live after land-based kiosks but an amendment to the bill is being requested to extend that period to 24 months.

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed a pair of sports betting companion bills in the House in late February, putting the decision in the hands of the Senate as to whether or not these proposals would move forward to the desk of Governor Doug Burgum for consideration. ND HCR 3032 and ND HB 1234 had their first Senate committee hearing on Monday in the Joint Finance and Taxation Committee.

ND HCR 3032 would put the subject of sports wagering legalization on the November 2022 ballot so that the residents could decide if they’d like to change the North Dakota constitution allowing for sports betting by a majority vote.

ND HB 1234 offers the structure for what a legal retail and mobile sports gaming industry would entail for North Dakota and was the bill that received most of the focus during Monday’s committee hearing.

When Would Legal Sports Betting Be Seen In North Dakota?

Bill sponsor of House Bill 1234, Representative James Kasper, went before the Senate committee to not only introduce his bill but to suggest amendments he would like to make to the current draft which has already passed in the House. This could prolong the process should any of these amendments make it into the current bill.

Changes suggested by Kasper include prohibiting credit card use from mobile sports betting platforms and eliminating all North Dakota college sports from inclusion on betting.

The biggest request, though, was asking for two years before mobile sportsbooks could launch in North Dakota to give retail-based sports wagering kiosks a head start in the industry to better help local businesses. This would make mobile applications unavailable in North Dakota until 2025 rather than 2024.

The proposal in its present format asks for a 16-month stall for mobile sportsbooks but local small business owners think they should have a longer period in the market before it becomes saturated with mobile platforms. If both bills pass in the Senate, North Dakota will see legal sportsbook options in the state in August 2023.

“The DraftKings of the world, and the people who do mobile devices, they have absolutely no economic effect on our state other than taxes,”  said Kasper at the hearing. “There is no work, except maybe some advertising. The kiosks, there are kiosk owners, they have to contact business owners in parts of our state, they have to provide support if they need it. If mobile and retail start at the same time, then the mobile will garner 80-90% of the market, because there is no overhead and no catch-up, and no lag time. In order to provide an opportunity for local business development this bill provides for 24 months for kiosks to get started.”

Now What?

DraftKings has stated that banning credit cards from mobile platforms is taking away from a player’s ability to gamble on sporting events. They are also opposed to the two-year wait while retail sports wagering kiosks in North Dakota find their footing in the legal sports betting industry of the state.

No date has been set for the next hearing in the Senate for these two sports wagering bills. With Senate approval, North Dakota could be well on its way to seeing sports betting options open in the state in 2023 should they vote in favor of the market in November 2022.

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly adjourns for 2021 on April 28 where final decisions will have been made regarding these two proposals.

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