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North Dakota on the Cusp of Being the “Next” to Welcome Legal Sports Betting

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The betting line and some of the nearly 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images via AFP.

Will North Dakota be the next state to launch legal sports betting? Our Dave Bond looks into what’s in store.

Major states are usually the ones to soak up headlines with respect to the US legal sports betting scene. However, small states are also making news as we head into December. The latest is North Dakota, which appears poised to be the next legal sports betting jurisdiction.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has gone as far as listing the 48th largest state in the country in terms of population (770,000 residents) as a live and legal sports betting destination. The reality in the state is that bets likely won’t take place until Dec. 1 at the earliest. It could possibly be delayed unril January if the myriad of regulatory hiccups between now and Tuesday bog down the process.

The End of a Long Fight

The fight for legal sports betting in North Dakota spans back to 2018 when the US Supreme Court overturned its blanket ban on sports betting across the country. Since then, various efforts, including a 2019 legislative bill to legalize, have easily been defeated among lawmakers in the state. There appeared to be little appetite for legal sports betting until recently.

One of the issues with the legalization of sports betting in North Dakota is the realization that there is zero foundation for a gambling platform in the state. There are no commercial casinos and no online gambling sites (which include poker) operating. Lawmakers and regulators are starting from scratch, not just building on an existing platform. That alone has some worried about an expedited process that isn’t taking all ramifications into account.

Efforts to launch such gambling opportunities in North Dakota have been met with resistance by a host of entities. The announcement that legal sports betting is coming to Dakota Magic Casino is a major milestone for the state.

Dakota Magic Casino

Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson, North Dakota is poised to be the first venue to offer legal sports betting in the state. It is a tribal-owned casino that has promised a Vegas-style sportsbook for sports enthusiasts. Dakota’s other properties are on the list to offer sports betting as well.

“DNGE has three tribal casinos with Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel in Hankinson, ND being the first to proudly boast the sportsbook lounge this fall. DMC is one of the largest tribal casinos in North Dakota,” according to a statement issued earlier this year.

There, North Dakota bettors will be able to wager on their beloved Bison football and Fighting Hawks hockey teams. They’ll also have access to a full slate of other major global sports. Dakota Connection in Sisseton and Dakota Sioux in Watertown are casinos in the state that are also being considered for their own sportsbook in the near future.

Not settled just yet

The North Dakota legal sports betting push has been a touchy one since 2018. Motions to have the question of legal sports betting before its citizens on the 2022 election ballot have even been struck down in the legislature.

Still, the Dakota Magic Casino is planning on a Dec. 1 jumping-off point. Betting at that time looks as though it will be limited to clerks and kiosks at the Dakota retail locations with a full sportsbook hoping to open in time for Super Bowl LVI in February. Off-site betting and a mobile platform are still very much a work in progress. Those probably won’t launch until well into 2022.

Until then, the North Dakota tribes will maintain their battle to keep gaming under their jurisdiction and will maintain their fight for the expansion of a sports betting platform.

North Dakota, when it does indeed launch, will become the 29th state, along with Washington DC to have its own legal sports betting platform.

SEE ALSO: Mississippi and New Hampshire Not Left Out on October Sports Betting Binge

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