Burgum Rejects Tribes Call for Exclusive Internet Sports Betting |  The mighty 790 KFGO

Burgum Rejects Tribes Call for Exclusive Internet Sports Betting | The mighty 790 KFGO

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BISMARCK, ND (AP) — Governor Doug Burgum on Wednesday rejected a plea by Native American tribes in North Dakota to give them exclusive rights to host internet gambling and sports betting because it is not allowed by state law.

“While we understand and appreciate the desire of some tribes to expand online gaming beyond the boundaries of their reservations, there is no clear legal path for the Governor to grant such broad gaming expansion,” Burgum said in a statement.

But Burgum endorsed the tribes’ call to lower the legal gambling age from 21 to 19 at the state’s five Native American casinos and allow people to use credit or debit cards to bet, said said spokesman Mike Nowatzki.

Under the agreement, the state’s five tribes each pledged $25,000 for gambling addiction programs, he said.

The tribes asked the Republican governor for two terms to approve the expansion of gambling under tribal-state agreements known as compacts, the first of which was signed in 1992. The current compacts – a for each tribe – expire at the end of this year.

As part of the tribes’ proposal for Internet gambling and sports betting, players in North Dakota could use mobile devices to place bets that would be routed through computer servers on tribal lands. The pact allows such gambling within the limits of reservations using mobile devices, Nowatzki said.

Nowatzki said gambling beyond tribal lands is not permitted under state law. But the pact contains a so-called trigger provision to allow tribes to offer such gambling if permitted by federal and state law at any given time, he said.

A similar deal between Florida and the Seminole tribe is stalled in federal court after a judge ruled in November that the state’s multi-billion dollar deal with the tribe allowing online betting violated a federal rule. which requires a person to be physically on tribal lands when betting. .

Cynthia Monteau, a lawyer and executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment. The association is made up of leaders from each of the state’s five tribes.

North Dakota’s Five Tribes say their casinos, which are usually among their biggest employers and help fund social programs on reservations, have been hit by the explosion of Las Vegas-style pull-along machines that have been legalized in 2017 for the benefit of charities. North Dakotans invested nearly $1.75 billion in machinery in fiscal year 2022.

Operations at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in northeastern North Dakota have seen revenue drop dramatically due to electronic tabs, said Collette Brown, executive director of the tribe’s gaming commission.

“We’re not going to get that money back,” said Brown, who believes state and federal laws allow tribes to host internet gambling.

“It was too progressive for (the state),” Brown said. Burgum’s endorsement of lowering the gambling age in casinos was a bit of a balm, she said.

The charities argued at a public hearing last month that allowing tribes to host internet gambling and sports betting in the state – a monopoly worth millions – could effectively end gambling charities in North Dakota.

State data shows that the amount of revenue given to charities this year for all gambling activities is estimated at $75 million. This is more than double what it was just two years ago, thanks to the increase in online betting.

State tax revenue from charitable gambling also more than doubled to about $24 million during that time, the data shows.

The pacts were forwarded to the Republican-led Legislative Management Committee, a 17-member group of lawmakers that oversees business between sessions.

The panel can only review covenants and does not have the power to change or reject them under current state law, said John Bjornson, the Legislature’s top lawyer.

After review by the committee, the covenants will be forwarded to the US Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gaming operations.

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