Sports betting IS legal in North Dakota — but it's extremely limited. Bettors inside the state have been clamoring for an enhanced sports gambling experience, but so far, lawmakers haven't budged and show no signs of changing anytime soon. Read on for an up-to-date look at North Dakota's limited sports betting scene.
Tribes Have Exclusive Sports Betting License In North Dakota
Contrary to popular belief, North Dakota is one of the 34 states that have passed sports betting legalization in the United States. Its legalization efforts flew under the radar when it happened in December 2021. Part of the reason likely stems from North Dakota betting rights going to local tribal casinos only — not outside operators that have come to dominate the industry.
There are currently three tribal casinos (Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel, Dakota Connection, and Dakota Sioux) inside "The Peace Garden State," which are all owned and operated by the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise. Since it's been only six months since the tribes were granted exclusive licenses to take in sports bets, they still haven't set up shop officially yet. The sports betting infrastructure is being built as we speak. When it's ready, the casinos will only be allowed to handle bets at in-person retail locations — not online.
If state revenues of gambling elsewhere in the Union are any indication, disbarring mobile betting will put a massive glass ceiling on North Dakota's potential windfall from legalization. Mobile-based betting eats up the lion's share of revenue in states that allowed it — by a massive margin over brick-and-mortar locations too.
Mobile Betting In North Dakota Not Off The Table
It's not that North Dakota hasn't tried expanding its betting laws to include mobile wagering. It certainly has but has been met with staunch critics each time.
Most recently, a North Dakota bill that included provisions for online gambling fell just a few votes short. In December of 2021, the state Senate rejected the bill with a 24-22 vote. A reconsideration of the bill was denied 24-23 in the days that followed. This oh-so-close vote effectively shuts the doors on the issue until the next election cycle in 2024 (there's no 2022 referendum) — an awfully long time.
This was the most recent attempt, but throughout 2021, four different bills related to legalized betting were introduced. That at least gives local bettors a "glimmer of hope" per se. To get a mobile-based bill passed, a few key groups will need to do a 180 on the issue.
The least likely to budge are tribes — the same ones that now have a monopoly on the industry within North Dakota's borders. The tribes grouped together to oppose expansive mobile sports betting provisions, which would've opened them up for competition from outside tech giants. That group effort helped kill the companion constitutional amendment proposal.
But the tribes are not alone in their anti-mobile betting stance. Similarly, non-profit organizations within the state rebuffed any efforts for mobile sports betting, arguing it would lead to compulsive gambling. Those orgs were largely churches and family groups, but also North Dakota University System President Mark Hagerott, who specifically wanted collegiate betting stripped from the bill (which it was).
How To Mobile Sports Bet In North Dakota
If you're in North Dakota, you don't have to drive to a tribe casino to place sports bets. No, no, in today's times, you don't want to burn gas anyway. There's another way for bettors inside the state to get in on the action — and that's wagering via mobile apps and sites supported by an array of long-established offshore sportsbooks, including many that qualified to be included among our reviews of top online sportsbooks.
Technically speaking, these bookies aren't "legal," but believe us, it's not an issue. Offshore betting has existed for three decades and at this point, the United States government has "bigger fish to fry" than bettors that want to gamble on NFL through a website located outside the country — especially now that it's come around on sports betting on a federal level. The same bookmakers you see on the table underneath this page have been serving American sports bettors since the Internet became a thing. You're in good hands with them.
At these sites, you'll find up-to-date betting lines for nearby teams. Of course, there are the local collegiate programs — the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks and North Dakota State Bison. However, all the pro teams in nearby states and cities are also there for the taking at these betting sites. That includes neighboring Minnesota (Timberwolves, Twins, Wild, and Vikings). Click around the table below to see for yourself!