Online Poker Joins Sports Betting on North Dakota General Election Voter Ballot

by Ciaran McEneaney - Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 10:07

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North Dakota lawmakers advanced legislation yesterday that would put the legalisation of sports betting and online poker on next year’s general election ballot.

House Bill 1234, endorsed by North Dakota’s House Judiciary Committee just last week, was passed by the house with a 56-38 vote. This bill will allow the state to establish a five-member commission to govern and regulate sports wagering within the state.

In a separate vote, the house showed overwhelming support for House Concurrent Resolution 3032 with a 70-24 vote giving voters the final say over the introduction of sports betting in the upcoming 2022 elections.

Speaking of the house vote Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, said:

“By allowing the people to vote on it, we put this to rest once and for all,”

Voters will also get to have their say on online poker in the 2022 election with lawmakers passing House Concurrent Resolution 3012 with a 54-40 vote.

The vote marks a long-awaited win for Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo who has unsuccessfully pushed for the legalisation of online poker since 2005.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Kasper said:

“There’s thousands of people in the state of North Dakota who are playing online poker. It’s not regulated; it’s not taxed,”

He also pointed to the fact that had his original attempt at online poker legislation been approved in 2005, the state could have earned as much as $500 million in tax revenue.

A related bill, House Bill 1389, was also passed by the House on Tuesday. This bill defines the framework for online poker regulation.

During Tuesday’s session lawmakers also defeated House Bill 1448 which would have allowed the state’s tribes to negotiate new gaming compacts that would include sports betting.

Rep. Kasper has previously spoken against the bill stating that it could potentially limit sports betting to tribal casinos only. Should state residents vote in favour of sports betting and online poker, the tribal casinos would then have the opportunity to introduce sports betting and online poker without the need for new gaming compacts.


Image credit: GPA Photo Archive / CC BY-NC 2.0

Ciaran McEneaney

Ciaran has a decade of experience writing for some of the biggest names in the eSports, poker, and casino industries.