Getting to Know Minnesota and Its Gambling History
Is any type of online gambling legal in Minnesota?
- Online poker: No.
- Online casino games: No.
- Online sports betting: No.
While the laws are unclear, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety declares online gaming and sports betting illegal under state statutes.
In the Great Lakes and Northern US, Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes and borders Lake Superior. It shares borders with Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakotas, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
- Abbreviation: MN
- State Motto: The Star of the North
- Capital City: St. Paul
- Population Estimate: 5.6 million (22nd)
- Website: http://www.mn.gov/
Minnesota was one of the first states to legalize bingo, having done so in 1945. More than 30 years later, some charitable gaming was also legalized, followed up with pull-tabs in 1981, pari-mutuel betting in 1983, the first racetrack at Canterbury Downs in 1985, and the lottery in 1988.
It was also in 1988 that Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to allow Native American tribes to structure gaming compacts with their state governments. A number of Minnesota tribes immediately went to work on their compacts, and seven of them were authorized to open gambling businesses with bingo and video gambling as soon as 1989. More tribes did the same in the years that followed, and nearly 20 tribal casinos now operate throughout the state of Minnesota today.
It took until the late 1990s for poker and other table games to become commonplace in gambling establishments, and Canterbury Park opened its poker room in 2000.
Several chapters in the Minnesota statutes address gambling issues and define things like card club activities and casino games for charity. Skill games are written about by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and defined as games like darts, bowling, and billiards. But games like poker are designated as chance games because they are “not usually… based on the outcome of a player’s skill, but rather the luck of the draw or some other chance event.”
Social poker games are allowed, even in tournament form, but they must not charge a fee or anything of value for players to participate, and prizes cannot exceed a value of $200.
As for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, it is this website and not the statutes that addresses internet gambling. It notes the illegality of the sites and even the criminal nature of participating in the games, even as a player.
“Online sports betting and online casinos that take your money and offer prizes via the web are illegal in
Minnesota. There are websites available that operate outside of the United States to purposefully avoid laws and enforcement. Not only is it a crime to participate, there are consumer protection concerns as well. When you send money, you are giving your personal financial and banking information to unknown persons that are not licensed or regulated in handling it. If you do win, there is no recourse if they do not pay you.”
Most Recent Developments
Minnesota isn’t on many lists of states that are likely to pass online gambling or sports betting legislation. The existing casinos constitute quite enough gambling for the likes of most legislators.
It was daily fantasy sports (DFS), however, that caught the attention of lawmakers in 2016 when it was first proposed. The House passed it that year, but the Senate refused to dedicate any time to it.
That changed, however, when the Senate took a public poll during the annual State Fair. The key question was whether games like online DFS should be regulated and taxed in a similar way to taxes and bingo. A prominent majority of 66.5% of respondents said it should be legalized and regulated, while 13% were unsure and only 20.1% responded negatively. That public support prompted legislators to consider DFS again in 2017. While it has not yet passed, it remains a topic of discussion.
Even so, online poker and casino games have not been proposed, nor has legal sports betting. This may change if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey in 2018 and allows each state the right to regulate its own sports betting industry. Until then, those topics are not on the table.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: Minnesota players can find real-money gambling and betting on most of the sites listed on this page.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: Should Minnesota decide to block online gambling and betting sites from offering services to their residents, it could mean fewer options for players. It is unclear at this time if the state is willing to allocate the resources necessary to pursue charges against sites that are based and licensed outside of the United States, though.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: Even if Minnesota commits law enforcement to pursue some type of legal or criminal action against gaming sites, players can rest easy that they are not targets. The cost and public relations nightmare associated with a state’s prosecution of players is too much for a state to take on.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: Sites with long histories of trust and experience know that it is responsible to segregate their player funds in case of a shutdown. There is no reason to believe that players will not have access to their account funds for withdrawal in the case of an emergency.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: Each site is different, with some offering ewallets and others offering the cryptocurrency option of bitcoin. Most debit and credit cards are accepted for deposits, but it is the withdrawals that become complicated, as checks are the preferred method of payment deliveries. Bitcoin, however, offers deposits and withdrawals. No matter the preference, it is best to research the site and contact its customer service representatives to find the transaction methods that best suit you.