North Dakota is now among the states offering regulated sports wagering, joining 28 other states and Washington, DC.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) lists North Dakota among the live and legal states. But local media reports indicate bettors there will be able to place wagers as soon as Dec. 1. That opening could be pushed off until January if there are regulatory delays.
Local bettors and sports enthusiasts will be able to play wagers at the Dakota Magic Casino (DMC) in Hankinson — a tribal gaming venue operated by Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise (DNGE).
DNGE has three tribal casinos with Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel in Hankinson, ND being the first to proudly boast the sports book lounge this fall. DMC is one of the largest tribal casinos in North Dakota,” according to a statement issued earlier this year by the operator.
Gamblers in the state will be able to wager on popular local names, including North Dakota State football – a powerhouse at the Football Championship Subdivison (FCS) level. To start, wagering will be confined to the Dakota Nation Sportsbook, as state and tribal officials have yet to approve mobile betting.
That approach is similar to what’s seen in neighboring South Dakota, where sports wagering is only permitted at Deadwood casinos or within city limits.
North Dakota Betting History
Broader sports betting efforts in North Dakota encountered resistance. In 2019, a bill before the legislature to legalize regulated sports wagering in the state was soundly defeated.
Earlier this year, a proposal to allow voters a say on the matter in the form of a 2022 ballot proposition advanced out of the state House, but was narrowly defeated in the Senate. Beyond sports betting, North Dakota has a spotty track record on wagering-related legislation.
For example, efforts to approve online poker have spanned more than 15 years, while an iGaming bill advanced out of the House of Representatives earlier this year. Republicans control both chambers in the state. North Dakota has no commercial casinos.
What Sports Betting Could Look Like in North Dakota
Beyond the casino in Hankinson, bettors can also indulge in legal sports wagering at the Dakota Connection in Sisseton and Dakota Sioux in Watertown.
As for when the state could approve sports betting on a broader level, that remains to be seen. Some experts attribute the lack of action on that front to resistance among conservative politicians in the state House and Senate. However, it is a Republican that’s pushing the online poker bill, and some in the North Dakota GOP readily acknowledged some of their constituents are betting on sports, whether it’s legal or not.
In terms of potential geographic advantages, three of the four states that border North Dakota already permit sports betting. But the exception — Minnesota — is the most populous and the road to regulated sports wagering there is vexing policymakers.