Tribal-Owned Casinos in North Dakota Lower Legal Gambling Age

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This photo shows a man playing slot machines at a casino in North Dakota. AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

The landscape of North Dakota sports betting is currently in a state of flux. Despite a proposal for legalizing online sports betting being brought before the Senate last year, it ultimately did not pass.

As a result, online sports betting remains illegal in the state. This has been a point of contention for many, as the potential revenue from legalized sports betting could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy.

Revitalizing the Industry

However, it seems that North Dakota is taking tentative steps towards expanding its gambling industry. Earlier this year, a significant change was implemented as part of Governor Doug Burgum’s agreements with the tribal casinos. The legal gambling age was lowered from 21 to 19

But the under-21s can’t just walk in and start placing bets. Anyone 19 and older, who wishes to gamble at the tribal-owned casinos, will have to check in, get a wristband, and meet with security. This move is seen as a way to revitalize the industry after the devastating economic effects of the pandemic.

What Does Lowering the Gambling Age Mean in North Dakota

The lowering of the gambling age is a clear indication that the state is open to changes in its gambling laws. It suggests a willingness to adapt and evolve to support the industry’s growth and recovery. While online sports betting is still off the table for now, the recent changes could be a sign of more progressive reforms in the future.

It also opens up more job opportunities for people in this age range. “Now 19 and 20-year-olds can apply and start themselves off at a great path here at Four Bears Casino and Lodge with several job opportunities,” said Patrick Packineau, a co-general manager of Four Bears Casino and Lodge.

Online sports betting is permitted on American Indian reservations in North Dakota, thanks to tribal-state agreements. Tribal gaming compacts were recently changed to allow online Class III casino-style gaming and online sports betting, including mobile gaming, within the physical boundaries of the reservations.

North Dakota Could Be Open to More Changes

Representative Greg Stemen Stemen says that sports betting could bring in nearly $4 million in tax revenues each year for the North Dakota state government. He adds that the state would use the 10% tax rate because it is typical of other states that have already legalized sports betting.

Although the sports betting bill would most likely include college sports, the chancellor of the North Dakota University System asked that this be avoided. He cited concerns about sports betting undermining the integrity of the games.

Stemen said that if voters ever get and approve a measure next year, the 2025 legislature will pass the necessary laws to ensure it is regulated correctly.

While the failure of the online sports betting proposal was a setback for the gambling industry in North Dakota, the state has shown that it is not against change. It remains to be seen what further changes will be implemented, but for now, the future of gambling in North Dakota seems to be on a promising path.