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North Dakota Tribe Dealt Blow

15 June 2006

NORTH DAKOTA – As reported by the Grand Forks Herald: "Bad news for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa's proposed Grand Forks casino came out of Gov. John Hoeven's office Tuesday in the form of a letter explicitly denying that the tribe had the right to open electronic bingo parlors.

"Bingo is the tribe's fallback position if it fails to get permission from the Legislature to build a new casino with 700 slot machines. The tribe is convinced that existing state law allows it to install electronic bingo machines because bingo is not restricted in the same way as slot machines.

"Having heard the tribe's explanation in May, Hoeven said he didn't think so, according to his legal counsel Duane Houdek.

"…The governor's position is that any expansion of gambling in North Dakota must go to the Legislature, Houdek said. 'If you're trying to simulate a casino, to make it look and feel like a casino, it is still an expansion of gambling in the state.'

"In other words, bingo really isn't bingo if it's electronic bingo, which has computer graphics like slot machines…"

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