October 10, 2022 3 min read


North Dakota Tribes Seeking Monopoly Over Online Gambling

The Indian tribes in North Dakota are trying to win over a million-dollar monopoly on online gambling and sports betting in the state.

North Dakota’s Five Tribes Are Chasing after a Monopoly on Online Gambling

Associated Press reported that the five Indian tribes in North Dakota have requested that governor Doug Burgum grants them exclusive rights over all online gambling in the state under the so-called compacts or agreements the tribes have with the state government.

The tribes’ campaign comes 12 months after the Senate discarded a bill allowing North Dakota residents to decide whether they want sports betting legalized in the state or not.

The bill was pushed by online sports betting behemoth DraftKings, which was planning on expanding in North Dakota. The sports betting operator’s main argument for the introduction of sports betting was that 138,000 residents of the state are wagering more than $355 million with illegal offshore betting operators.

The strongest argument coming from the five North Dakota tribes in their current campaign is that the legalization of electronic pull-tab games has tremendously hurt their casino revenues. The machines were legalized by governor Burgum back in 2017 and since then their revenues have reached $1.75 billion in the fiscal year of 2022.

The Tribe’s Proposal Comes in Times of Significant Tension Between Them and the State

Governor Burgum has refused to make any statement as the negotiations are currently ongoing.

However, the proposal from the tribes comes after many conflicts. First, protests came against a pipeline, which went under the Missouri River. The tribes get their drinking water from the river and were afraid of pollution.

Then in 2017, governor Burgum approved the legalization of the electronic pull tab machines, which stole gamblers away from the tribal casinos that bring much-needed revenue to the tribal communities.

Executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, Cynthia Monteau, has commented that awarding the tribes exclusive rights to online gambling will compensate for the losses suffered due to the pull tab games and would also improve the relationship the state has with the tribes.

However, there may be another obstacle in the way of tribal monopoly. Currently, the tribes believe they have the right to offer online sports wagering and other games of chance across the whole of North Dakota while hosting the necessary servers on tribal land as per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Yet a similar case in Florida has seen a judge annul the agreement between the tribes and the state on the grounds that the player has to be physically on tribal lands to place wagers.

Governor Burgum has stated he is familiar with the legal case in Florida, while North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley has put his legal advice forward to the governor.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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