North Dakota Becomes Latest State To Introduce Sports Betting Legislation

Rep. Jason Docktor's Bill Would Allow North Dakotans To Bet On Sports Through Charitable Organizations

There are currently seven states with legal and regulated sports betting operating within their borders, a couple more that have passed legislation and are awaiting a regulatory framework to implement it, and countless more that have introduced legislation.

North Dakota became the latest state to join the latter group earlier this week with Rep. Jason Docktor filing legislation that seeks to legalize sports betting in the state.

HB 1254 would allow North Dakotans to place bets with licensed charitable organizations throughout the state. Outside of tribal casinos, charitable organizations are currently the only legal way for state residents to gamble.

If the bill is ultimately passed, the charitable organizations would have to apply for licenses from the state. In the current piece of legislation, there are no limits on the number of licenses handed out by the state.

Docktor’s bill would only allow sports betting “during the hours when alcoholic beverages may be dispensed, according to applicable regulations of the state, county, or city.” While it isn’t addressed specifically in the bill, the provision would make it unlikely that the state would legalize mobile betting apps.

Additionally, the bill does not address the tax rate on these charitable organizations, whether there would be a fee given to professional leagues, or whether the use of ‘official league data’ would be mandated. The Office of the Attorney General would operate as the regulatory body.

The state bill comes just a few weeks after the introduction of a federal bill that would give the government control over the sports betting industry and require all operators to be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. Both the American Gaming Association and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have come out against the proposed legislation.

If passed, the North Dakota bill would become law on Aug. 1, 2019. Historically, the state doesn’t have a good track record of expanding gaming.