he North Dakota House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Wednesday of legislative proposals that would make this possible Sports betting in the state.
Sponsor Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo opened his testimony in support by stating that House Bill 1234, as it is written, will not work and that it will be greatly changed.
The new draft, which will “lay the foundations” for how sports betting in the state will work if approved, will be presented to committee next week, Kasper said. In addition to the bill, he is drafting a constitutional amendment that would allow the North Dakotans to vote on whether to legalize sports betting in the state.
“The people of North Dakota are already sports betting,” Kasper said during the session. “They find ways to do it. I say we legalize it in our state and tax it so that we have the benefit of what is already happening for the citizens of our state and our treasury. “
Twenty states now allow some form of sports betting, while several others, including South Dakota, have voted to allow sports betting but have not yet implemented it, reports Inforum. A 2019 law legalizing sports betting in North Dakota was passed by parliament but failed in the Senate.
“The goal of the bill is not to encourage gambling,” said Kasper. “The aim of the bill is to say that we will work with the rest of the states.
“(Sports betting) is now open to all 50 states,” he said. “What I found in my research is that roughly half of the states have already introduced sports betting and that is increasing dramatically.”
Rep. Bernie Satrom, R-Jamestown, asked Kasper if he had an estimate of the social cost of allowing sports betting. Kasper replied by saying that it was his belief that sports betting is less attractive to compulsive gamblers or addicts than other types of games because they are a game of brainpower and skill.
“I would suspect that in many cases people who play sports betting are not the compulsive kind of people compared to e-tabs or slot machines,” said Kasper. “It has a magic in attracting people who have a problem. If you do sports betting, it makes more sense.
“It’s a process that you have to think about before doing anything,” he said. “It’s not where you go to a casino or a bar and put your money in a machine and there you go.”
As the bill is being rewritten, Kasper has not discussed the details of the bill with the Judiciary Committee. But they did allow statements to support and reject sports betting.
Kasper gave the only testimony in support of the law, while several people in the opposition gave testimony. Opponents included the President of North Dakota State University, Dean Bresciani, the System Chancellor of North Dakota University, Mark Hagerott, as well as representatives of the Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, the North Dakota Catholic Conference, the United Tribes Gaming Association and Spirit Lake Tribe Gaming Commission.
Kasper stated that the upcoming bill would likely include betting on college sports in addition to professional sports. Both Bresciani and Hagerott spoke out against allowing gambling in college sports and insisted that the bill only allow betting in professional sports.
“I am a firm believer in the college model of amateur athletics and that because of that focused focus, it compliments a college environment,” said Bresciani during the session. “It goes without saying, however, that the college model is constantly under pressure from groups that have a selfish interest in the professionalization of college sports. It’s never been like it is today. I am concerned that legalized bets on college athletics would further jeopardize the college model. “
UTGA Executive Director Cynthia Monteau testified against HB1234, urging that gambling should continue to be restricted to tribal casinos. She said tribal casinos generate more than $ 300 million for the state economy and offer more than 3,000 full-time positions.
While the UTGA is against legalizing sports betting, no tribal casinos in the state currently offer sports betting.
“Gaming is, for the most part, our only source of income for jobs and economic development,” said Monteau during the hearing. “HB1234 is an extension of the game outside of tribal casinos and we strongly oppose it.”