Committee Endorses North Dakota Sports Betting Bill

Add North Dakota to the ever-expanding list of states that seem poised to legalize sports betting this legislative session.

A bill circulating through the state’s legislature that would put sports betting on a ballot initiative during the 2022 election season was endorsed by a bipartisan House committee, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The House Judiciary Committee gave the bipartisan legislation a “do-pass” recommendation and will head to the House floor for a full vote.

The bill originally allowed for betting on both professional and collegiate sporting events but will not allow gamblers to wager on college sports. It was amended after the North Dakota University System Chancellor told the committee that presidents of every college and university in the state “voiced concerns” about the inclusion of college sports.

The current legislation is somewhat bare and does not include the finer details about the market, such as tax rates and licensing fees. The committee will send a bill to the House that includes those details at a later date.

If the House approves the bill, it would then head to the Senate for a vote, and ultimately to the governor’s desk. A spokesman told the AP that Gov. Doug Burgum won’t advocate for sports betting, but wouldn’t stop it from passing.

Several governors in states with legal sports betting markets with similar sentiments towards it have let legislation pass through inaction. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan “allowed sports betting legislation in Maryland “: pass in that manner last May.

If the legislation dies in either chamber, the citizens of the state could put it on the ballot with an initiated measure, per the North Dakota Constitution. It would be a similar route that got sports betting and casino gaming legalized in Nebraska last November.

Georgia, Massachusetts, Arizona, Minnesota and Florida are among the many states with sports betting legislation working its way through the legislative process.

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