North Dakota leader changes casino bill

The House majority leader that proposed state owned casinos changed the terms of his bill.

US.- Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, who had presented a proposal that would’ve allowed the construction of six casinos owned by North Dakota changed the terms of his bill. His amendment included six casinos, but privately owned and state regulated.

The House Judiciary Committee gave the bill a “do not pass” recommendation yesterday after a 13-2 vote, and it will face a House voting on Friday. Committee Chairman Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, said that she hasn’t liked the expansion of gambling simply because she doesn’t think that it’s good for society.

Groups against the measure also teamed up to fight the proposal because they believed that North Dakota state owned casinos could overshadow the profits that charities get from gaming. Furthermore, American Indian Tribes would also be affected since they have priority to build casinos in the state. The original proposal from Carlson established that state casinos couldn’t be built 20 miles from a reservation, and the amendment doubles the distance.

Whilst the first bill proposed that the casinos couldn’t be built within 20 miles of a reservation, or within 5 of a city with more than 5000 residents, the new one doesn’t limit private-owned casinos and would allow the construction anywhere in the state. If it makes it through the House and the Senate, the Legislature has the call to decide if the bill goes under a statewide vote or not. If it gets approved, it could be under the decision of the voters in the June 2018 primary.