When considering which states would be working on online poker legalization, North Dakota is not one that comes to mind. However, the state is the latest to see legislation actually moving forward in 2021 with support enough to pass. Representative Jim Kasper is pushing the effort and so far, it’s working!
Details of the Legislation
HCR 3012 was introduced by Representative Jim Kasper on January 14. The bill seeks to amend and reenact section 25 of article XI of the state constitution when it comes to online poker authorization. The bill has five additional sponsors along with Kasper. All of the sponsors are republican expect for one.
The first reading of the bill took place back in January within the Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow online poker in the state. If the House and Senate can approve the measure, the idea would be considered by voters in the state in next year’s election.
The House Judiciary Committee held a meeting discussing the bill on February 9. Kasper commented on his past efforts to pass such legislation for many years and explained the recent Wire Act opinion. He has spoken to the state’s Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and has received confirmation that his bill is legal.
During the meeting, Kasper took time to provide an explanation as to how online poker works and how companies protect the players. The representative also talked about how online poker is legalized and successful in other states, plus how interstate pool sharing works.
Basically, the representative wants to put the subject up to a public vote. Let the people of the state decide if they will add poker or not. It is unclear as to how the vote might go, but odds are, people want to be able to play online poker in North Dakota.
Opposition to the Measure
Of course, there are those who are opposed. Collette Brown is the Gaming Commission Executive Director of the Gaming Regulations and Compliance Department for the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort Devil’s Lake. In the meeting, she testified against the changes, but seemed to not really know what she was talking about, mentioning table games rather than online poker gaming options.
She was focused on the operations for the most part of the testimony. She had many questions about licensing and regulation of the industry but looking at other states and how they operate iPoker, these questions are easily answered by regulators.
Brown wants to see a study conducted on the issue before anything else happens. Others are opposed to the revenue structure of the industry. The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians sent their legal counsel to the meeting, Mark Levitan. He said that most of the revenues from the industry will go to companies that are not located in the state, so the money would not benefit North Dakota.
Levitan also wants to see any online poker restricted to tribal operators. The plan would allow for commercial operators to offer services as well.
The online poker legislation is still being considered and seems to have support. However, we will have to wait and see if the measure is able to continue pushing forward or if it will stall once it reaches the full House or Senate.