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Five Native American Tribes in North Dakota Seek Exclusive Rights for Offering Online Gambling and Sports Betting Services

The five Native American tribes in North Dakota are willing to get exclusive rights to offer online gambling and sports betting throughout the state by using servers situated on their reservation lands, only a year after the decision of local lawmakers to turn away from the pursuit of one big national player to allow its services in the state.

Now, the five tribes have addressed Governor Doug Burgum, asking him to approve the idea under the so-called compacts, or the agreements between the tribes and the state, the first of which was inked in 1992. The current agreement is set to expire at the end of 2022, and Governor Burgum is the only one who can approve them.

Mike Nowatzki, a spokesperson for the Governor, shared that Mr. Burgum would not comment because negotiations were still ongoing.

North Dakota’s Native American tribes claim that the performance of their casinos has been hurt by electronic pull-tab machines that have been rapidly increasing in popularity across the state after being authorized in 2017. In fiscal 2022, the residents of the state spent almost $1.75 billion on the electronic pull-tab machines. For the time being, the tribes’ proposal is still a draft, with the top gambling regulator of North Dakota, Deb McDaniel, confirming that a public hearing on a final proposal is set to be held on October 21st.

Allowing the five tribes to offer online gambling and take sports bets outside their reservation lands would help them offset the losses they have suffered as a result of electronic pull-tab machines.

North Dakota Tribes’ Proposal Backed by DFS and Sports Betting Giant DraftKings

The proposal of the five North Dakota Indian tribes, as well as a failed resolution seeking to allow sports betting in the state have been backed by one of the largest players in the US mobile gambling market, DraftKings, in 2021. At the time, the gambling and daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant revealed that sports betting was already taking place in the state, with an estimated 138,000 people placing sports wagers worth over $355 million on illegal offshore markets on an annual basis.

So far, DraftKings officials have not officially commented on the aforementioned proposal of the five North Dakota tribes. Another major player in the mobile gambling market, FanDuel, has not commented, either.

Americans have wagered over $125 billion on sports through legal gambling companies in the four years since the 2018 US Supreme Court decision to lift a federal ban on sports betting, allowing every state to individually decide whether to give the green light to the new form of gambling or not.

In the fifth year of legal sports betting in the US, legislative action is speeding up thanks to so-called microbetting – the chance to place bets on an outcome that quite narrowly targets a certain part of the game. For the time being, it remains unknown what the financial advantages of the proposal for both the tribes or the state would be, or how it would be taxed and regulated.

The proposal of the five North Dakota tribes comes at a time when Governor Burgum is working to improve the relations between the state and the Native American nations which have been tough since he took office in 2016. In the next year, 2017, Burgum, signed a piece of legislation that gave the green light to the controversial electronic pull-tab machines, although the local Indian tribes opposed it.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.