The state of North Dakota has a large and successful casino industry. Unfortunately, the rise of E-tabs, electronic gaming machines, are taking away from the revenue that North Dakota casinos are earning. It’s becoming a serious issue, and owners of these casinos are beginning to push back.
There’s a lot happening in this state. Lawmakers are currently trying to decide whether or not to expand the number of gambling options. Let’s look at why so many casino owners here are complaining right now.
History of Casino Gambling in North Dakota
Back in the 1800s, North Dakota had a huge casino industry. The state was home to many small gambling venues, yet lawmakers eventually decided that these casinos were contributing to a rise in crime around the state. Eventually, state officials set a blanket ban on all forms of gambling.
This blanket ban stayed in place until 1976. At this time, lawmakers began allowing traditional games such as bingo. In 1987, officials began looking to allow traditional Class III casinos. After the passing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, these officials decided it was time to permit Native American tribes in the state to run casinos.
Before long, several of these gambling properties began opening around the state. There are now a huge number of fantastic North Dakota casinos operating, most of which generate serious revenue for the state every year. Most of these venues are likely to operate here over the next few years.
A huge number of popular ND online casinos are available right now, too.
It’s a great time to be a casino fan in this state. Unfortunately, a rise in electronic gaming machines have been making it difficult for casinos here to attract new players. Many tribal leaders are now pushing against these E-tabs.
Tribal Casinos Argue E-Tabs Are Taking Revenue
Electronic gaming machines are popular around the world. In the UK, particularly, these machines can be found in thousands of betting shops. They’re so popular, that the government was forced to lower the maximum bet that they were allowed to accept to just £2.
These machines, called E-tabs, have begun to appear in North Dakota. Legislature approved in 2017 allows these machines to operate around the state. They can now be found in bars, clubs, and even some restaurants in just about every single county.
Many tribes feel this is unfair. These Native American groups claim they’re losing a substantial amount of money due to these E-tabs.
“It’s no small thing for us,” said Mark Fox, Chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. “It’s of dire concern, at a minimum.”
This certainly appears to be an issue for North Dakota casinos. Collette Brown, gaming commission executive director for the Spirit Lake Tribe, claims the Spirit Lake Casino saw a 42% decrease in revenue just one year after these machines began operating.
Lawmakers seem uninterested in removing these machines right now. Many are quick to point out the money they are bringing to charities. Tribes here are likely to continue pushing for them to be banned. We’ll need to wait and see what happens over the next few years.
The Push to Legalize Sports Betting in North Dakota Continues
Back in May of 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, giving every state in the country the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting. Since that time, 22 states have made this form of gambling legal. If all goes to plan, North Dakota will have legal sports betting options available in 2020.
In January of last year, several politicians introduced House Bill 1254. Had it been approved, sports betting would have been made illegal in the state. The North Dakota Attorney General would be in charge of regulating this industry.
Unfortunately, HB 1254 did not get approved before the end of the year’s legislative session. Many analysts believe that 2020 is the year sports betting gets legalized here. Several politicians here have already voiced their support for the legalization of sports betting.
Lawmakers are currently working to change HB 1254. Several new details will need to be introduced in order for the bill to get approved. With almost all forms of traditional gambling now available here, it’s reasonable to assume that sports betting will become available here this year.
North Dakota casinos are fighting hard to make E-tabs illegal. Only time will tell how lawmakers respond to these tribe’s claims. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!