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Sports betting measure reconsidered in Senate, fails

For a second time, the state Senate has rejected a proposed Constitutional amendment regarding the legalization of sports betting in North Dakota.

HCR 3032 had already passed the House. But last Friday, it failed in the Senate 24 to 22.

If passed, it would put the question on the ballot next year.

"The reality is, 138,000 North Dakotans are already making sports wagers, totaling over $350 million annually," said Sen. Scott Meyer (R-Grand Forks). "They are participating in off-shore betting accounts with no oversight and no consumer protections, including age verification and addiction counseling."

Meyer said those people will continue to place bets, regardless of the outcome of the vote on the resolution.

"We're going to continue to let that revenue go out of state," Meyer said.

Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D-Fargo) argued that if they want it, those who make those bets can draft their own initiated measure and put it on the ballot.

"The gaming companies, who have no brick-and-mortar presence in this state, no employees in the state, and they only presence they have in the state is the telephone in your pocket," Piepkorn said. "That's their investment."

Piepkorn said most of the money being wagered is going to those out-of-state companies, not to any taxes the state of North Dakota would collect.

The measure failed by a 24 to 23 vote.

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