If you do not know much about North Dakota, you are probably not alone. The state is a mystery to most people simply because it is not very populated and is not one of the nation’s top tourist destinations. With all that being said, the state is home to plenty of gambling options and has been for quite some time. The way in which casinos exist in North Dakota is not entirely different from states like Florida, and that explains the somewhat restrictive state laws that are skirted by casino operators.
To put it simply, the state of North Dakota has fairly strict laws when it comes to the type of gambling that is available. This may lead you to believe that there really aren’t many options for gambling in the state, but that is simply not true. The following will elaborate more on the casino industry in the state, including what outsiders need to know before heading there.
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Currently, the biggest and best option for casino-style gambling in North Dakota is that which takes place on tribal lands. The tribal gaming industry came about as a result of a Federal ruling which basically states that Native American tribes can offer their own casino games so long as the state in which they are located allows it. So this means that even though North Dakota does not allow private operators to run casinos, they do allow tribal operators.
Luckily, the games that you can play at tribal casinos in North Dakota are identical to those offered on the Las Vegas Strip. There are table games like blackjack and poker right alongside seemingly endless rows of slot games. All told, tribal gaming in North Dakota is a thriving and growing industry.
In North Dakota, there was an amendment made to state law that allowed for the existence of charitable gambling. As the name suggests, charitable casinos are those that offer games where the majority of revenue is distributed to charities and other social benefit programs. Though these casinos may not feature the wide expanse of games you will find at the state’s tribal casinos, there is still plenty to keep even the most demanding gambler entertained.
Like most states that saw settlers move through, casino-style games and other games of chance have been in North Dakota as long as history has been recorded. When the state really took shape and began drafting laws, it was quickly established that all styles of gambling would be outlawed.
This remained the case for quite some time, until the year 1976 brought about some radical changes. In that year, a charitable gambling carve-out was initiated. When all said and done, state law was amended so that certain bingo-style games and other games of chance would be legal so long as a majority of the proceeds went to charitable organizations and state services for veterans, the elderly, and the disabled.
Then in 1992, on the heels of a Federal Act which allowed for Native American tribes to open casinos, the state negotiated with 5 Native tribes and eventually granted casino licensure to them. Since then, the same 5 tribes have operated the same 5 casinos across the state. Though there have been plenty of lawmakers who think that the tribes are overstepping the terms of the initial agreements, these tribes and their casinos are still able to offer a full range of casino games. At the present moment in time there is not much of a push to allow for commercial casinos, and that lack of push can likely be explained by the state’s tiny population. Without many people, and without a large tourism industry, adding more casinos—especially commercial casinos—is something that would do well to overwhelm the market more than anything else. Right now, the state’s 5 tribal casino are more than enough to satisfy the state’s casino needs.