The North Dakota Senate killed House Concurrent Resolution 3002 (HCR 3002) by Rep. Greg Stemen in a 16-30 vote Monday. Stemen’s resolution aimed to let voters decide whether to expand North Dakota gambling.
The measure to make online sports betting open to a public vote in 2024 failed to gain the necessary approval to reach the ballot, however.
Barring an unexpected reconsideration from the North Dakota Senate, online sports betting will remain illegal in the state. Currently, the only way to legally wager on sporting events in the state is to visit a tribal casino.
North Dakota gambling proposal meets its end
When Rep. Greg Stemen brought the HCR 3002 to the House in January, 11 of his colleagues joined as co-sponsors:
- Sen. Davison
- Rep. Dockter
- Rep. Hagert
- Rep. Louser
- Sen. Meyer
- Rep. Mock
- Sen. Patten
- Sen. K. Roers
- Rep. M. Ruby
- Rep. Thomas
- Sen. Vedaa
The House of Representatives passed the measure 49-44 three months ago. If approved by the Legislature, the measure would have been placed on the November 2024 ballot to be decided by voters.
Sen. Scott Meyer wasn’t satisfied by the outcome in the Senate. He reportedly told Senators that legalization of sports betting should be up to North Dakotans who will bet anyway. According to the Bismarck Tribune’s article, Meyer said:
“Doing nothing will not protect those that need the help.”
Stemen already emphasized that North Dakota could generate over $3.5M in gaming tax revenue yearly by introducing a 10% tax rate. As the article cites, Stemen said:
“As many as 138,000 North Dakotans are betting over $300 million annually, including $30 million in revenues to offshore betting books.”
North Dakotans must settle for retail sports betting
A similar measure passed through the House in 2021 but failed to get sufficient support in the Senate. As HCR 3002 is dead for the time being, the only legal options in the state remain brick-and-mortar sportsbooks inside tribal casinos.
North Dakota currently has five tribal casinos that offer sports betting. These are:
- Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson
- 4 Bears Casino and Lodge in New Town
- Sky Dancer Casino & Resort in Belcourt
- Prairie Knights Casino in Fort Yates
- Spirit Lake Casino in St. Michael
It’s uncertain right now whether Stemens or any of the other sponsors will try a similar measure in the next legislative session. What is for sure, though, is they have work to do in order to produce a different result.