Gov. Doug Burgum has signed an agreement package with North Dakota’s Native Indian tribes that will allow online Class III casino-style gaming in addition to lowering the legal gambling age from 21 to 19 at tribal-owned casinos. The state-tribal agreements, known as compacts, will also allow gamblers on reservations to use credit or debit cards to place bets.
The five new gambling compacts will also allow online sports betting via mobile devices used in reservation areas but not outside of the reservation boundaries.
The agreement follows Gov.Burgum‘s last month’s rejection of a plea motioned by the state’s five tribes. The tribes plead for exclusive rights to host internet gambling and sports betting outside the reservation, but the state law doesn’t allow such an expansion.
Gambling compacts signed:
After the series of meetings, the state, and the tribes found the solution acceptable for both parties. The Republican governor said that tribal representatives signed off on the compacts on Friday.
Burgum’s statement said on the occasion: “We are deeply grateful to the tribal chairs and their representatives for their collaboration throughout these many months of negotiations, and we look forward to continuing the mutually beneficial gaming partnership between the state and the sovereign tribal nations with whom we share geography.”
United Tribes Gaming Association, consisting of leaders from each of the state’s five tribes, has not released the statement yet.
The tribes asked for exclusive rights to host internet gambling and sports betting in North Dakota, where gamblers throughout this state could place bets using their mobile devices. The tribes suggested the arrangement to funnel these bets through computer servers on tribal land.
North Dakota’s five tribes wanted the exclusive rights to host mobile sports betting as their casinos have been damaged in the explosion of Las Vegas-style pull tab machines that were legalized in 2017. The tribal casinos are among their biggest employers and the main source of help in funding social programs on the reservations.
As the turnover of pull tab machines in North Dakota is almost $1.75 billion in fiscal 2022, the tribes’ proposal was carefully considered and discussed between the tribes and the state, but still rejected due to the lack of applicable regulation, or, as Gov. Burgum put it: ”A clear legal path does not exist for the governor to grant such a broad expansion of gaming.”
New compacts coming into force:
However, the state and the five tribes have now reached an agreement that allows mobile gambling on the tribal territory. The gambling compacts signed on Friday will supersede the existing ones pending to expire at the end of this year. The new compacts will come into force immediately after to be effective for 10 years.