Tribal internet gambling is a hot topic in North Dakota

The tribes of North Dakota are getting closer to realizing their online gambling ambitions, but one glitch can still throw a spanner in the works. According to local charities, giving the five Native American tribes in the state exclusivity on this segment could effectively end the betting activities of charities. Charities spoke with the governor. Doug Burgum outlining their concerns.

The renewal of pacts in the image of the tribe still under debate

Meanwhile, the tribes are eager for the Governor to approve new tribal-state agreements, which are called covenants and are often the basis for tribes across the United States to offer gambling products. Current covenants are due to expire at the end of the year, which means Governor Burgum will be the one to approve them.

The tribes, however, aren’t too eager to compete with charities, which they claim have “Las Vegas-style” pull-pull machines. These machines ended up raising $1.75 billion from players in 2022 alone. The tribes pointed out that they are among the biggest contributors to social programs on their reservations and are also among the biggest employers.

Tribes and charities want to keep doing what they do, and that’s why representatives from both met and spoke at the State Capitol in front of 100 people. A tribal operators worker said jobs are already suffering because of the e-tabs going online.

According to tribal officials, allowing tribes to start hosting online gambling operations on their reservations will be able to offset the competition that e-tabs have introduced. But not everyone agrees. Executive Director of the North Dakota Gaming Alliance Mike Motschenbacher said as quoted by the Associated Press that the tribes were already in an advantageous position because of their casinos, which he said, if expanded, would devastate what charities are doing.

Charity revenue increases with E-Tabs

Tribal representatives disagreed. Meanwhile, data outlining the amount of contributions from charities in North Dakota has surfaced, with $75 million in total revenue generated for those operators. This marks a big increase in overall revenue, mainly due to the arrival of e-tabs. Yet, one thing that is still unclear is what the effect of a tribal casino obtaining rights to online gambling would be.

What is clear is that the tribes are hurting because of the status quo and they want to use their expertise in the gaming industry to secure jobs and other benefits for their community. Meanwhile, charities remain strongly opposed. No final decision has been made.

Jessica C. Bell