Historical Horse Racing Bill defeated in North Dakota

North Dakota has just seen a gambling bill defeated in the House. This particular gambling bill, named SB 2221, would have allowed the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks to operate so-called ‘historical’ horse racing machines. The bill was initially approved by the Senate in February, before failing in the House. The vote was extremely close though, with a defeat of 45-46.

North Dakota Historical Horse racing bill

North Dakota’s Controversial Bill

The bill came under some heavy criticism as I was often called a gambling expansion initiative. Many believed that this bill would have benefited the racetracks in North Dakota, while adversely affecting all other gambling within the state. The main issue is that there would have also been a negative effect on the state’s charitable gambling operations. There are around 300 of these, and they can be found in clubs and bars throughout the state of North Dakota.

The bill would have allowed racetracks to operate ‘historical’ horse racing machines. These machines run video footage of old horse races from around the world. The location, date, and names of the horses are all concealed, and players can then wager on who they think will win the race.

A Slot is a Slot

The issues with the bill arose when many people voting on the bill believed that these historical racing machines are essentially slot games. While they cannot officially be defined as a slot machine, because the races are classed as pari-mutuel betting and there are multiple players placing wagers, there were those who thought that these machines were just slot machines with a different name.

Back in 2006, a supreme court in Wyoming ruled at slot machines that mimicked pari-mutuel betting was still a slot machine. Many of the House members who voted against allowing these machines to be operated by the racetracks agreed with the thought process of the supreme court.