North Dakota House wants voters to decide whether to allow online poker and sports betting in one of the most conservative states.
Representatives in North Dakota Outline Gambling Rules
A majority of North Dakota House of Representatives has supported House Concurrent Resolution 3032, with a 70-24 vote to allow sports betting in the state. There was also a forward movement on putting online poker on the election ballot in 2022 as well.
The North Dakota House wants to know if voters would allow sports betting and online poker in the state. Over the years, North Dakotans have changed their minds towards gambling and are much more relaxed on the topic. Once they used to be hostile towards the idea of gambling in the state, but in 2002 they approved a state lottery, even though they rejected it for 12 years prior to that. Today, along with bingo cards, blackjack, and charitable gambling activities, the lottery has become a profitable source of income, accumulating millions for the state.
North Dakota is one of the states trying to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in 2018. On Tuesday, representatives supported a pair of bipartisan resolutions and companion bills for rules on gambling. The proposals now move to the Senate and, if they are approved, voters would see them on the ballot in November 2022. North Dakota’s sports betting bill would allow gambling on professional sports only. The profit for the state isn’t estimated yet.
Rep. Jim Kasper has tried to push the legalization of online poker in the state since 2005. He was effusive during an interview, stressing about the time it has taken him to see the measure pushed through. “Sixteen years!” Kasper said. If his proposal was approved, North Dakota could have been the first state with licensed and regulated online gambling. Today, six states have legalized online poker. Kasper doesn’t give up. In January this year, he proposed a resolution to put online poker on the 2022 election ballot.
Residents also have the right to bypass the legislature and put the resolution up for a vote by themselves.
North Dakota Backers and Opponents’ Arguments
Although it has become softer over the past years, one of the arguments the opposition presented in 2019 was that legalized gambling in North Dakota could have a negative impact on professional athletes’ performances and could cause gambling addiction. Lawmakers, who push for the legalization of gambling in North Dakota, stated that there would be enough money to create a gambling addiction treatment program.
Another strong argument is that residents already bet illegally on sports. It would be beneficial for the state to legalize it and generate revenue from gambling and sport betting activities. According to Kasper, the state could have generated $500 million from taxes annually if it had regulated poker in 2005.