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North Dakota looks to change bill to legalize sports betting

The North Dakota House of Representatives is considering a bill that would change the state constitution to make provision for legal sports betting.

On Monday, Rep. Greg Stemen, R-Fargo, spoke in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 3002 before the House Judiciary Committee. Out of the twelve legislators who introduced the bill, eleven were Republicans. Seven of the twelve were members of the House, and the remaining five were members of the Senate.

Following legal procedures, the proposed bill must first be approved by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate. If the proposal is approved by the House, voters would get it in the general election in November 2024.

It is important to note that this is not the first move that has been initiated by the state for the legalization of sports betting. An attempt was made in 2021, but it was unsuccessful. Currently, only retail casinos and tribal lands allow sports betting in person. With the passage of this legislation, online gambling would be permitted throughout the state.

It is likely that this bill will make headway, unlike the previous failed efforts. This is because more states are beginning to be more open to the gambling industry, owing to the large revenue it provides to the state. Stemen noted that at first, sports betting might bring in over $3.5 million in tax income for the state of North Dakota.

According to Stemen, sports wagering is already taking place in North Dakota, despite the fact that there is no regulatory framework in place. A report from the American Gaming Association shows that up to 138,000 residents of the state bet over $300 million on a yearly basis.

“If it’s already happening, let’s regulate it, let’s provide oversight, let’s put consumer protections in place, and allow legitimate American gaming entities to partner with the state, and so that the people who are doing it have some protections built in,” Stemen told the Tribune.

The sports betting bill has also met opposition from some residents, such as the chancellor of the North Dakota University System, Mark Hagerott, who says sports betting endangers the safety of students and has major “negative implications” for them. However, he said if the bill succeeds against all odds, then provision should be made for university athletics to be exempted.

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