Published March 9, 2023

Charitable Gaming Site Fines Fail House

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
Rep. Scott Louser, R-Dis. 5, Minot, stands in opposition to fines for gaming site owners. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
Rep. Scott Louser, R-Dis. 5, Minot, stands in opposition to fines for gaming site owners. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Bill Proposed Fines for Site Owners


BISMARCK – A bill to create fines for charitable gaming sites failed the North Dakota State House Wednesday.

Senate Bill 2271 would have allowed the attorney general to fine charitable gaming site owners between $500 and $5,000 for not following charitable gaming laws. The House Judiciary committee gave the bill a nine to one Do Pass recommendation.

“Currently site owners of charitable gaming cannot be penalized,” explained the bill carrier, Rep. Landon Bahl, R-Dis. 17, Grand Forks. “The only action the attorney general’s office has if a site owner is not following charitable gaming laws is to penalize and

impose fines on the charitable gaming entity, not the site owner. The committee agreed that site owners are being compensated in addition to receiving other benefits for having charitable gaming on their premises. Therefore, they should be held accountable.”

Rep. Scott Louser, R-Dis. 5, Minot, said other subsections to the century code on the topic of charitable gaming have nothing to do with the site.

“We’re adding something here that doesn’t reference the site owners anywhere else in that subsection of code, and I think this would be inappropriate,” said Louser.

“I don’t think the site owners keep a watchful eye on everything at every minute, and I’m not sure why the establishment owner would be responsible for something that happened by an employee or somebody that he had no responsibility over other than that they were supposed to be working,” said Rep. Craig Headland, R-Dis. 29, Montpelier.

Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Dis. 47, Bismarck, said a representative from the attorney general’s office informed the committee that training is provided for gaming site owners on what the law says on charitable gaming.

“The site owners should know what is right and what is wrong,” said Klemin. “Anybody that does commit a crime is also subject to prosecution for crime as a criminal matter.”

Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Dis. 46, Fargo, said the bill does not include due process for the site owner who would be fined.

The bill failed by a vote of 68 to 25.

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