Since the end of 2021, it’s been legal to place sports bets in North Dakota, but only if you do it in person at one of the three tribal casinos currently owned and operated by the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise (DNGE), and now it looks like that monopoly could grow even larger.
The five tribes of North Dakota are planning to propose an expanded version of the compact they now hold with the state that is going to expire at the end of 2022, with a total monopoly of the mobile sports betting market potentially added to what the native tribes already run.
This proposal is reportedly in the works and will be presented to Republican Governor Doug Burgum for consideration on October 21, the date of a previously scheduled public hearing, all according to Deb McDaniel, North Dakota’s top gaming regulator who recently talked to the A.P.
This move is an attempt to capture the mobile sports betting market that is already happening in that state by an estimated 138k bettors wagering more than $353M annually via unregulated offshore sportsbooks that are the subject of a recent Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) warning.
Governor Burgum signed a legal sports betting market into law last December, and since then North Dakota bettors have been forced to travel to one of these three casinos owned and operated by the DNGE and located across the state:
Mobile sports betting, however, remains illegal there so bettors who are not able to make the trip to one of those physical locations are forced to handle their action illicitly, either by illegal local bookies of those unregulated offshore sportsbooks that offer few if any safeguards.
Besides consumer safety, the other major issue at hand here is all that multi-million dollar handle traveling out of state and benefitting outside operators instead of staying in North Dakota where that money could be taxed in order to fund projects that benefit the residents.
The key to any forward movement on this issue is a cooperation between the tribes and the state.
There has been tension surrounding the relationship between the leaders of the state’s native tribes and the state government ever since 2016 during the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that passes under the Missouri River outside the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Those fiery protests caused serious damage to trust between the two parties, and that relationship must be mended before any agreement can be arrived at regarding granting a total and complete monopoly on this retail and mobile sports betting market.
Another source of friction between those two sides stems from back in 2017 when the governor signed into law a bill allowing electric pull-tab machines that were seen as a direct threat to the state’s native casino business.
Those wounds can be healed, though, according to Cynthia Monteau, a lawyer and executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, who said:
I think it’s time to start looking at ways on how we can work together and help each other and mend these relationships and move forward in a positive way.
This story is unfolding and should update in the next couple of weeks so be sure to keep checking back for all the latest related news.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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