As it stands, North Dakota’s casino industry is reserved to tribal gaming for the most part. In recent months, legislation has been issued that would change the face of gambling in the state altogether. As you might expect, this is not being seen as good news to tribal and charitable gaming authorities, both of which rely heavily on funds related to casino gambling.
A recently-introduced bill would make it so that the state of North Dakota can own its own casinos. This would vastly expand the scope of gambling in the state, but according to many, would also kill the tribal gaming that has been thriving across the state for decades.
This past Monday, officials from all areas of the North Dakotan gaming industry met to hold a forum on the proposed House Concurrent Resolution 3033. The measure was introduced by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, a Republican from Fargo. Though the measures says quite a lot, it is quite simplistic. If approved during next year’s primary elections, the constitution of North Dakota would be amended in such a way that up to 6 state-owned casinos would be able to be constructed.
One of the biggest passages of Concurrent Resolution 3033 is that the prospective state-owned caisnos would not be able to be located within 5 miles of a population center of 5,000+ people, and would not be allowed to be located within 20 miles of any Native American reservation. Naturally, that second bit was added as a way of showing that the state still has interest in preserving Native American gaming.
Another piece of the Resolution states, in so many words, that any and all of the state-owned casinos must be standalone. In other words, the casinos are to be constructed in such a way, and in areas that make the casino an attraction in and of itself. Basically, legislators want to make sure that the creation of a casino would not affect other businesses. If, for example, the state-owned casinos were to be located around Fargo, local businesses might be able to argue that money that would be spent at their businesses will instead be spent at the casino.
In order to avoid that, the legislation states that the casinos “must be established as a destination-oriented attraction selected for the scenic, historic, recreational and tourism advantages of the site.”
There are plenty of other things that need to be sorted out, such as who will pay for the construction of the casinos as well as who will benefit as far as taxes are concerned, but it is clear to see that this is an attempt on the part of North Dakotan lawmakers to develop some of the more rural areas of the state while simultaneously creating tax revenue, which is much-needed.