North Dakota Wanting At On-line Poker Legalization

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 | Written by Renee

In 2005, North Dakota made headlines in the global online poker industry after Republican representative Jim Kasper authored a bill which sought to legalize online poker in the state.

During that time, Kasper was contesting the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 which criminalized all forms of online gambling. The bill was able to get enough support from the House, but it was ultimately voted down in the Senate as several senators were concerned about violating federal law.

Kasper Introduces New Online Poker Proposal

Now, 15 years since his first attempt to push for online poker in North Dakota, Kasper is taking another shot, but this time he wants to make sure he gets enough support from local residents.

Kasper, who has been a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives since 2000, representing District 46, has recently introduced legislation that would enable residents to vote on whether or not online poker should be legalized in the state.

House Concurrent Resolution 3012 would put the question on the 2022 general election ballot, and if the measure is passed by a simple majority, the Constitution would be amended to allow for online poker. Kasper’s proposal is only a bare-bones amendment, meaning there’s still no regulatory framework or details on taxation available. They will be figured out if the measure is successfully passed.

Kasper cannot say just yet whether he has enough supporters in the legislature which, over the years, has remained tough on gambling expansion, but the District 46 representative said his proposal has bi-partisan support.

Latest Wire Act Ruling Might Help Kasper’s Campaign

Since 2005 when Kasper first put forward legislation to legalize online poker in North Dakota, a lot has changed, especially with regards to the Wire Act.

In 2011, the Department of Justice opined that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. It paved the way for some states to launch their respective regulated online gambling markets. While the DOJ under the Trump administration reversed that opinion in 2018, latest developments on an ongoing legal battle regarding the issue are going in favor of online gambling.

North Dakota Should Embrace Online Gambling Too

According to Kasper, the rise of the internet has allowed people to do almost everything online, including gambling. Online activity has been boosted further by the COVID-19 pandemic as people have been forced to limit their movement and as a result made a shift to online entertainment. More and more sates are also supporting gambling expansion, and Kasper believes North Dakota should also join the trend.

North Dakota is home to more than 762,062 people, based on figures from the 2020 census. In Kasper’s 2005 proposal, the Peace Garden State was poised to generate up to $500 million in annual taxes if online poker was legalized.

But things are so much different now and the poker landscape has also continued to evolve, so Kasper would rather not focus on the complex details at the moment. His efforts are now mainly geared towards getting the House and the Senate’s support to pass the measure so North Dakota residents can vote on the subject in the 2022 general election.

If the outcome of the vote ultimately favors Kasper’s cause, then he’ll take the next steps with regards to regulation and taxes. Assuming everything goes well, online poker would be up and running in North Dakota in 2023 the earliest.

Kasper, who’s been playing poker since he was a kid, thinks other people should be given the chance to play and enjoy the game as well. Apart from online poker, Kasper is also keen on bringing sports betting to North Dakota. He revealed that he’s also currently working on a bill seeking to legalize the game.

Kasper said the poker community in North Dakota may join his cause by contacting their representatives and convincing them to support his latest measure. He is also urging online poker fans and players from other jurisdictions to continue to generate awareness so that the game is also accepted in their respective states.