New North Dakota Compact Lowers Gambling Age To 19

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on December 6, 2022
New tribal gambling compacts singed in North Dakota

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced the signing of state compacts with five of North Dakota’s American Indian tribes. 

The new tribal-state compacts lower the gambling age from 21 to 19 at tribal casinos. And they will allow gamblers to use credit or debit cards to place bets.

However, unfortunately, those hoping for state-wide online gambling in North Dakota will have to wait much longer. But for now, the agreement does permit online gambling while on tribal land.

However, retail sports betting did launch inside the Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson on Dec. 1. The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe owns and operates the casino.  

New ND tribal gambling compacts last for 10 years

After months of negotiations, Burgum announced the tribes signed off on the compacts on Friday. The original agreement would have expired at the end of the year.

In a statement, Burgum said:

“We are deeply grateful to the tribal chairs and their representatives for their collaboration throughout these many months of negotiations, and we look forward to continuing the mutually beneficial gaming partnership between the state and the sovereign tribal nations with whom we share geography.”

The newly minted compact will be in place for 10 yearsThe North Dakota tribes include:

  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Spirit Lake Nation
  • Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation

Under the new compacts, each tribe has pledged $25,000 for responsible gambling programs. 

No exclusivity rights for tribes with North Dakota online gambling

During early negotiations, the United Tribes Gaming Association (UTGA) asked for exclusive rights to host online gambling and sports betting throughout the state. The UTGA consists of the leaders from each of the five tribes in North Dakota. 

At the time, Burgum said the expansion of gaming was outside his purview. “A clear legal path does not exist for the governor to grant such a broad expansion of gaming.”

Part of the reason the UTGA pushed for exclusive rights was due to Las Vegas-style gaming emerging in the state. The tribes argued pull tab machines, which were legalized in 2017, have hurt tribal casinos.

North Dakota gamblers played roughly $1.75 billion on pull tab machines in fiscal year 2022. 

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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