North Dakota Legislature

  • HCR 3032 a bill that would amend the constitution of the state to have residents vote on legalizing North Dakota sports betting has passed in its first committee.
  • Should the resolution pass in each chamber of the House then North Dakotans would get to vote on a legal sports wagering industry on their November 2022 ballots.

BISMARCK, N.D. – Residents of North Dakota could see sports betting on their November 2022 ballots after the House Judiciary Committee passed a resolution on Wednesday that would allow constituents to vote on legalizing sports wagering in the state.

The resolution received its “do-pass” but this is far from a victory as the proposal will need to be approved by all the chambers of the legislature before sports bettors in North Dakota can begin to get excited at the prospect of a state-sanctioned sportsbook industry.

The Resolution

House Concurrent Resolution 3032 seeks to change the constitution of North Dakota as it pertains to gambling on sports matchups. Should the chambers of the House agree to this bill’s proposal that the constitution be amended by way of vote from those that reside in North Dakota, then the subject will be placed on the November 2022 ballot where it would need to see a majority of votes in favor of legalization.

Should voters get to decide on the issue, it has been detailed within HCR 3032 that legal sports betting in North Dakota would not allow for collegiate sports betting.

At least not for any colleges affiliated with North Dakota as the schools spoke out in a highly opposed manner and therefore were excluded in the draft. However, the purpose of this resolution is to let the people of the state decide on whether or not they wish to make betting on sports a legal market.

Proponents argue that the legalization would benefit North Dakota since mobile sportsbooks from outside sources is widely done on a daily basis in the state. Should the outcome be favorable, that is all money that could be used for the people of North Dakota as the economy would profit from the gross gaming revenue of sportsbooks.

“The only way to legalize this is to put this to a vote of the people of North Dakota,” said Rep. Michael Howe, (West Fargo-R), sponsor of HCR 3032. “I feel the majority of North Dakotans want this.”

What’s Next?

A set of rules for what the landscape of a legal North Dakota sports betting market would look like has been submitted to the House. This was done to better help lawmakers decide on approving the resolution. Governor Doug Burgum has said should the proposal find its way to his desk that he would allow the public to vote on it rather than vetoing the idea.

Revenue from the industry is expected to go to charities within the state as well as help with gambling addiction programs. Although North Dakota has been opposed to sports betting legalization in the past, they along with a number of other states in the country have warmed to the industry as it has been quite successful for every state that has made the market a legal one.

Howe believes that 2021 could be the year for a positive outcome for sports gaming in North Dakota because the proposal and future legalization would only help to ensure a safer environment for North Dakotans that are gambling on sports anyway.

“Legalized sports wagering will actually make it harder to fix games,” said Howe. “Once legalized, sports wagering will be monitored, and any irregular activity will be easily detected. It is easier to fix games in an unmonitored environment, in which money flows under the radar.”

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly will adjourn for the year on April 28. There is much that will be discussed during this time to see how the House will vote on HCR 3032. With any luck, people in North Dakota may just see sports betting on their ballots in 2022 for a 2023 launch of the industry. But will the House roll the dice on the market?

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