Michigan opened its regulated online poker market less than a week ago, becoming the 5th US state to do so after Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Now, another state might join the list a couple of years from now, if ongoing efforts by a Republican representative turn out successful.
Rep. Jim Kasper, who represents District 46 (Fargo), has recently put forward a resolution which would put a measure on the 2022 general election ballot to allow residents to have a say on whether or not online poker should be allowed in the Peace Garden State.
House Concurrent Resolution 3012 has already gained bi-partisan support in the House and if it ultimately makes it on the ballot, North Dakota residents will decide in the upcoming general election whether the state should get the ball rolling on online poker legalization. A simple majority outcome will then kick-start the process.
Rep. Kasper thinks it’s about time that North Dakota begins embracing online gaming, given that a lot of US states are already doing it. Kasper has long been an advocate for poker, being a player himself. His interest and passion for poker dates back to when he was a kid, as he would usually play the game with his uncle. He began to love the game even more during the Chris Moneymaker era.
An article by professional poker player Roy Cooke inspired Kasper to do his share in promoting online poker in his own state. The article led to him introducing an online poker legalization bill in 2005.
To intensify his campaign, Kasper invited some prominent poker names to testify before the North Dakota Senate. They included 2004 WSOP Main Event winner Greg Raymer, WSOP bracelet winner Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, and business executive Nigel Payne.
The bill was quickly approved by the House, however, the Senate ultimately rejected it by a 43-3 vote. The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 was the main culprit, with legislators believing the bill was against the law.
If Kasper was successful in his first attempt to bring online poker to North Dakota, the state would have benefited from up to $500 million in annual taxes. But right now, Kasper refuses to delve into the details of his current proposal, as a lot of factors still need to be considered, given that things have significantly changed since the Poker Boom.
What Kasper wants to know is whether or not North Dakota residents approve of online poker. He’ll figure out the next steps from there, but he also acknowledges that it will be a tough battle, as there’s an existing “powerful” lobby opposing gaming expansion in the state.