North Dakota Tribes Seek Exclusive Rights to Internet Gambling and Sports Betting, Propose Monopoly Worth Millions
In a daring leap into uncharted territory, the five Native American tribes of North Dakota are spearheading an audacious quest for the exclusive privilege of overseeing internet gambling and sports betting throughout the state.
This potentially lucrative monopoly, valued in the millions, comes hot on the heels of last year’s resounding rejection by state legislators of DraftKings’ ambitious bid to introduce these activities statewide, despite the company being a heavyweight in the U.S. mobile gambling market.
In this high-stakes game, the tribes are placing their bets on Republican Governor Doug Burgum, hoping he’ll greenlight their proposal through tribal-state agreements, colloquially known as compacts, as the existing ones are set to expire at the year’s end.
Deb McDaniel, North Dakota’s top gambling regulator, stresses that only Governor Burgum wields the authority to give the nod to these compacts, adding an extra layer of anticipation to the unfolding drama.
The tribes present a compelling case, attributing the woes of their casinos to the rampant popularity of electronic pull-tab machines, legalized in 2017. These machines drained almost $1.75 billion from the pockets of North Dakotans in fiscal 2022 alone, delivering a significant blow to tribal casinos.
The draft proposal, clandestinely acquired by The Associated Press, is slated for a public hearing on October 21, injecting an air of suspense into the proceedings.
Silent giants of the mobile gambling market, DraftKings and FanDuel, have yet to unveil their cards in response to the tribes’ proposition. The legal sports betting arena, galvanized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 decision, has witnessed over $125 billion in wagers over the past four years.
However, the tribes’ proposal casts a shadow over the financial landscape, leaving the taxation and regulation of this groundbreaking initiative shrouded in uncertainty.
Governor Burgum’s spokesperson, Mike Nowatzki, remains tight-lipped, citing ongoing negotiations as the reason for the governor’s silence.
The proposal emerges against the backdrop of Governor Burgum’s efforts to mend strained state-tribal relations, a challenge he inherited upon taking office amid protests and arrests during the tumultuous construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The tribes view hosting internet gambling and accepting off-reservation bets as a potential remedy, countering losses incurred from electronic pull-tab machines.
Cynthia Monteau, a legal luminary and executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, advocates for a harmonious collaboration, stating, “I think it’s time to start looking at ways on how we can work together and help each other.”
The tribes ground their authority to conduct online betting statewide in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, utilizing servers on tribal lands—a legal gambit reminiscent of the Seminole Tribe’s entanglement in federal court over a similar compact in Florida.
North Dakota’s Attorney General, Drew Wrigley, offers legal counsel on the tribes’ proposal, maintaining an air of mystery regarding the specifics.
State Representative Michael Howe, a vocal proponent of expanding online sports gambling, predicts that legislation on the matter will resurface, irrespective of the tribes’ involvement, asserting, “I think the average North Dakotan who enjoys sports wagering isn’t concerned where the tax revenue is going.”
As the tribes vie for exclusive rights, the fate of internet gambling and sports betting in North Dakota hangs in the balance, an unpredictable game where the final hand remains uncertain.
|💎 AP News – apnews.com/article/sports-business-legislature-north-dakota-betting/|
|💎 US News – usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2022-10-07/north-dakota-tribes-want-exclusive-rights on online gambling|
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