• North Dakota to introduce sports betting in tribal locations on Wednesday
  • The state has tried to expand on commercial sports betting to no avail
  • Some last-minute delays might still happen to postpone betting until January 

Sports fans are readying up to place their first bets at the Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson. Operated by the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise, the venue will go live on Wednesday, December 1, although regulatory hurdles may yet delay the opening until January. Dakota Magic Casino previously teamed up with IGT’s PlaySports platform in preparation for the upcoming launch. 

North Dakota Makes Entry into the Legal Sports Betting World 

North Dakota is essentially joining a very big family of sports betting states, with some 30 now regulating the activity within the three years since PASPA was struck down in 2018. The ensuing flurry of regulatory action created one of the biggest regulated betting markets in the United States, clawing back a juice share out of the offshore industry.

The Dakota Magic Casino is entirely satisfied with the result and the opportunity to finally add sports betting to its casino floor. Commenting for Park Rapids Enterprise, casino chief marketing officer Rojelio Rubio argued that the decision of the US Supreme Court has helped allow the casino to push ahead and secure an entry into a new vertical.

The property is already ready to provide consumers with an outstanding experience, courtesy of the dedicated lounge, large TV sets, leather seating, cellphone charging stations, and a huge wall-to-wall video screen that allows sports fans to never miss any of the action. The sports betting arrangement between the Dakota Magic Casino and the state was arranged through a state compact, but it wasn’t until after PASPA that the property could initiate plans to launch sports gambling.

To facilitate access to sports betting, the casino is running it both through clerks and self-serving kiosks , but the lounge itself will officially launch in January, and ahead of the Super Bowl, which is associated with the biggest sports betting handle recorded in US history.

The current legal framework – negotiated under the tribal compacts – allows for regulated sports betting on college events, which is a huge plus for local fans, although educational institutions themselves have opposed it. This means that punters will be able to make wagers on the University of North Dakota’s NCAAF teams.

The NCAAF program is strongly represented in North Dakota, with the team part of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Dakota Magic Casino is hoping to see mobile sports betting among the approved activities before long, which would allow off-site betting and is generally pegged to higher results and revenue. 

Expanding Beyond Tribal Gaming and Local Opposition 

Sports betting enjoys a fairly sturdy legal momentum as it has been one of the most successful pushes for regulated gambling of any sort. Other attempts to pass gambling have come short, with online poker having been mothballed for 15 years now, bar the occasional flare-ups brought on by stakeholders. 

North Dakota has tried to legalize its commercial sports betting industry on several occasions and push beyond tribal gaming. A bill that was pitched in 2019 ultimately failed to pass the legislature and was shot down in a 37-8 vote. Then, earlier in 2021, House Resolution 3032 also tried to expand gambling across the state and outside of the remit of tribal operators. Most recently another bill, House Bill 1234, also came short.

All legal attempts to change the current status quo have been shot down by lawmakers who still prefer to keep sports betting focused on the hands of tribal venues and the Dakota Magic Casino opening a dedicated product this Wednesday unless last-minute ordinances are pushed through to defer the rollout until January.