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Tribes seek to gain exclusive rights to online gambling in ND

Publish Date: 10/09/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Five American Indian tribes in North Dakota want the exclusive rights to host internet gambling and sports betting in the state.

In accordance with the first tribal-state compact, the tribes seek Republican Governor Doug Burgum’s approval. The first compact was signed in 1992, and the present compact will expire at the end of 2022. Only Burgum has the authority to authorize new compacts.

The tribes assert that the proliferation of electronic pull tab machines throughout the state following their legalization in 2017 has harmed their casinos. Their proposal is still in draft form, and the public hearing date is October 21.

In 2017, Burgum signed a bill approving the electronic pull tab machines even after receiving resistance from tribes who feared the Las Vegas-styled games would drive gamblers away from the state’s tribal-owned casinos.

“Allowing the tribes to host internet gambling and take off-reservation bets would help improve relations and offset losses tribes have suffered from e-tabs,” executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association Cynthia Monteau said.

According to Burgum’d spokeswoman, Mike Nowatzki, the governor cannot offer any comment due to ongoing discussions.

The proposal arrives when Burgum has been working to improve the worsening state-tribal relations. The tribes had protested about water contamination during the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that crosses the Missouri River close to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The protests even led to numerous arrests.

Big gambling companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel do not offer any comments regarding the tribes’ endeavors.

DraftKings said that sports betting already occurs in North Dakota, with around 138,000 bettors wagering more than $355 million each year on illicit offshore markets.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling lifted a federal ban on sports gambling and paved the way for its legalization in all 50 states, Americans have wagered more than $125 billion on sporting events through licensed gambling establishments.

According to Washington Post, the proposal’s s financial advantages to the tribes or the state are not obvious. The regulation and taxation for sports betting remain uncertain.

“I think it’s time to start looking at ways on how we can work together and help each other and mend relationships and move forward in a positive way,” Monteau said.

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