North Dakota Casino Bill Gets Proposed Amendments From Two Different Lawmakers

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) Tom Stromme/Bismarck Tribune

UPDATE: The Judiciary Committee today voted down both of these proposed amendments and voted 13-2 to give the amendment a “do not pass” recommendation.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson caused quite a stir when he filed a proposed constitutional amendment allowing up to six state-operated casinos.

That legislation seemed unlikely to pass in its original form, so Carlson has since proposed some amendments to simplify it quite a bit. You can read the original four-page bill here. The amendment chops down all of that legal language into just three relatively short sections.

Here’s a photo of the proposed changes sent to me by members of the House Judiciary Committee:

So now, under these amendments, the casinos would be privately owned but regulated by the state through a state gaming commission. They also couldn’t be located within 40 miles of the reservations, which is double the previous restriction. There could still only be six of them.

A much improved bill, I think, but I’d still rather see a full-on legalization of gambling instead of these half measures. Also, I doubt there’s anything here to placate the concerns of the charitable gaming interests or the tribes.

Not that we should be crafting policy to protect their relative monopolies on gaming.

I’m also told that Rep. Andrew Maragos (R-Minot) will be proposing an amendment which would end the constitutional ban on gaming and instead allow the Legislature to determine which types of gaming are allowed. It would also open the door to some sort of multi-state charitable gaming pact.

I don’t have the text of that amendment.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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