Burgum rejects Tribes' request to exclusively host internet gambling rights

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Bismarck, ND) -- Governor Doug Burgum is rejecting a request by North Dakota's Native American tribes to exclusively host sports betting and online gambling in the state.

Burgum announced the decision Thursday, saying he doesn't see a "clear legal path" for him to expand the state's gambling laws unilaterally.

“These negotiated compacts address a number of longstanding issues between the state and tribes by cutting through red tape and streamlining regulation of tribal gaming for the benefit of both parties,” said Burgum in a statement released to WDAY Radio. “While we understand and appreciate the desire by some of the tribes to extend online gaming beyond their reservation boundaries, a clear legal path does not exist for the governor to grant such a broad expansion of gaming in the compact. We plan to work with the Legislature to bring all parties to the table and take a comprehensive look at gaming during the upcoming 2023 session, including sports betting, e-tabs and other gaming.”

The tribes petitioned Burgum for the exclusive online rights to help make up revenue lost at tribal casinos.

While the online portion was not honored, other changes to the compacts include:

  • Lowering the legal age for gambling on reservations from 21 to 19 years old. An exception remains in place for those with military ID, who may gamble at age 18.
  • Allowing tribes to accept credit and debit cards for any purpose, including account wagering and cashless gaming.
  • Clarifying that the state will conduct one annual casino inspection at the tribe’s expense. Any additional inspections will be at the state’s expense. Casinos remain subject to regular federal inspections and audits, along with submitting quarterly reports to the state.
  • Limiting the cost of state regulatory activity reimbursed by the tribes to no more than $10,000 per year for each tribe, subject to an annual inflation rate.
  • Providing flexibility in administering gambling addiction treatment, education and prevention services that are supported through contributions of $25,000 per year from each tribe, for a total of $125,000 annually.

Casinos are a critical source of income and employment for the tribes.