North Dakota has historically been a very ‘anti-gambling’ state. It was granted statehood in 1889 and had a blanket ban on all forms of gambling until 1976. That year a provision was made for bingo games and raffles for charity. One year later, parimutuel wagering was allowed on horse racing though the state has only a few live racing dates per year. It does allow North Dakota residents to take advantage of online account wagering sites like TVG. A state lottery began in 2002 and is one of the most restrictive in the country allowing only draw games with no instant win/scratch offs. Interestingly, they do provide for limited purchases of tickets for the major national draws like Powerball and Mega Millions online.
The gambling rights that do exist in North Dakota are due to the efforts of the state’s five Native American tribes. North Dakota established compact agreements with the tribes in 1992 and the first casinos opened their doors the same year. The compacts were renewed in 1999 and in 2013. There are now six tribal casinos in North Dakota offering Class III slots and table games. There are also five casinos that operate under the state’s charitable gaming regulations offering limited stakes games like electronic pulltabs, bingo and blackjack.
Given the state’s general disdain for every type of non-tribal gaming it would be surprising to see them among the early adopters of legal sports betting. If it’s going to happen, it would have to be done at the tribal level and it’s doubtful that the compacts with the state government would allow this.