North Dakota tribes want exclusive rights on online gambling
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota´s five American Indian tribes are seeking exclusive rights to host internet gambling and sports betting in the state, a monopoly worth millions, just a year after legislators turned aside a push by one big national player to allow it in the state.
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Burgum in 2017 signed legislation that approved the electronic pull tab machines, despite opposition from tribes that warned the Las Vegas-style games would lure gamblers away from the state´s tribal-owned casinos.
The tribes argue their casinos have been hurt by the explosion of electronic pull tab machines statewide after they were legalized in 2017, with North Dakotans pouring almost $1.75 billion into the machines in fiscal 2022.
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Doug Burgum to approve the idea under tribal-state agreements known as compacts, the first of which was signed in 1992. The current compacts expire at the end of this year and only Burgum can approve them, said Deb McDaniel, North Dakota´s top gambling regulator.
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, a Republican, said he has offered Burgum legal advice on the tribes´ proposal but would not disclose what it is.Wrigley said he´s aware of the lawsuit in Florida.
Americans have bet more than $125 billion on sports with legal gambling outlets in the four years since the U.S. Supreme Court´s 2018 decision that lifted a federal ban on sports gambling, clearing the way for all 50 states to offer it.
DraftKings, a big player in the U.S. mobile gambling market, supported legislation and a failed resolution last year to allow sports betting in North Dakota to join about two dozen other states.The company said at the time that sports wagering already is taking place in North Dakota, with an estimated 138,000 people betting more than $355 million in illegal offshore markets annually each year.
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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, said Cynthia Monteau, a lawyer and executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, which consists of leaders from each of the state´s five tribes.
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A similar compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe is tied up in federal court after a judge in November found the multibillion-dollar agreement between the state and tribe allowing online betting violated a federal rule that requires a person to be physically on tribal land when wagering.