Five North Dakota American Indian tribes are pushing for exclusive rights to host online gambling and sports betting in the state, a monopoly worth millions, just a year after lawmakers rejected a push by one major national player to allow it in the state.

Tribes appeal to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum must approve the idea under agreements between tribal states, known as compacts, the first of which was signed in 1992. The current contracts expire at the end of this year, and only Burgum can approve them, said Deb McDaniel, head of North Dakota’s gambling regulator.

The tribes say their casinos have been hit by an explosion of electronic pull-out machines across the state since they were legalized in 2017, with North Dakota pouring nearly $1.75 billion into cars in FY2022. Their proposal, obtained by The Associated Press, is still in draft form. A public hearing on the final proposal is scheduled for Oct. 21, McDaniel said.

DraftKings, a major player in the U.S. mobile gambling market, last year supported legislation and a failed resolution that would have allowed sports betting in North Dakota to join two dozen other states. At the time, the company said sports betting was already taking place in North Dakota, with an estimated 138,000 people betting more than $355 million annually on illegal offshore markets.

The company did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the tribes’ proposal. FanDuel, another major player in the mobile gambling market, said it had no comment.

In the four years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that overturned the federal ban on sports gambling, Americans have bet more than $125 billion on sports with legal gambling, clearing the way for all 50 states.

In the fifth year of legal sports betting, the action is quickened by microbetting, the ability to bet on an outcome as narrow as the outcome of the next baseball game or the next soccer game.

It’s unclear what financial benefits the tribes — or the state — would receive under the proposal, or how it would be regulated and taxed.

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowacki said the governor would not comment because negotiations are ongoing.

The proposal comes as Burgum works to improve state-tribal relations, which have been particularly strained since he took office in 2016 amid ongoing protests and hundreds of arrests during construction Dakota Access Pipeline which passes under the Missouri River near c Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe draws water from the Missouri River and fears contamination.

Burgum signed legislation in 2017 that approved electronic slot machines, despite opposition from tribes who warned that Las Vegas-style gaming would draw players away from tribal-owned casinos.

Allowing tribes to post online gambling and withdraw bets without reservation will help improve relations and offset the losses tribes have suffered from electronic betting, said Cynthia Monto, a lawyer and executive director of the United Tribes Gaming Association, which is made up of leaders from each of the state’s five tribes.

“I think it’s time to start looking at ways we can work together and help each other and build relationships and move forward in a positive way,” she said.

The tribes believe the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act gives them the authority to place online bets statewide using servers on tribal lands.

A similar agreement between Florida and the Seminole tribe is being reviewed in federal court after a judge ruled in November that a multibillion-dollar agreement between the state and the tribe that allows online betting violates a federal rule that requires a person to be physically on tribal land when placing a bet. . A lawsuit filed by non-Indian casino owners in Florida challenged the U.S. Department of the Interior’s approval of an agreement that oversees tribal gambling.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, a Republican, said he has offered Burgum legal advice on the tribes’ proposal, but would not disclose what it is. Wrigley said he was aware of the lawsuit in Florida.

West Fargo GOP Rep. Michael Howe, now a candidate for secretary of state, has long been a proponent of expanding online sports gambling in the state.

Howe said he doesn’t necessarily oppose the tribes’ proposal. But he said if that fails, he expects legislation to come up again, allowing it with or without tribal participation because of its growing popularity.

“I think the average North Dakotan who likes to bet on sports doesn’t care where the tax revenue goes,” he said.