Getting to Know North Dakota and Its Gambling History
Is any type of online gambling legal in North Dakota?
- Online poker: It’s complicated.
- Online casino games: It’s complicated.
- Online sports betting: It’s complicated.
There are no sections of the North Dakota code that address online gambling or betting as legal or illegal.
North Dakota is in the northern United States as a part of the Great Plains. It borders the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and it touches Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana on the American side.
- Abbreviation: ND
- State Motto: Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
- Capital City: Bismarck
- Population Estimate: 755K (47th)
- Website: http://www.nd.gov/
North Dakota was a latecomer to the game of legalized lottery play, which didn’t happen until 2004, and it does not offer instant-win tickets or state-run games. There are legal games when played for charitable groups, and some horse and dog racing is allowed in the state.
Per the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, there are casinos in the state, and they are located on Native American reservations. That federal law prompted some of the North Dakota tribes to work with the state government to develop gaming compacts under IGRA. Ultimately, all types of gaming are authorized for tribal casinos, of which there are five located throughout the state. They are operated by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation.
Interestingly, there are other casinos – more in the form of card rooms – scattered around the state, but they have a unique setup per current law. They are able to offer games like poker at these casinos, but they must be licensed and committed to donating a certain percentage of revenue to charitable organizations approved by North Dakota.
The part of the North Dakota Code devoted to gambling is rather concise. It defines gambling and apparatuses used for it, along with the penalties associated with the crimes. On the other hand, the state’s administrative code talks more about games of chance and the rules for legal games for the purpose of charitable donations.
But contrary to the association of poker with games of chance in that code, the gambling law does have a specific exception for skill games, which pertains to:
“Lawful contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or to the owners of entries.”
Most Recent Developments
There have been no efforts by legislators in North Dakota to legalize or regulate online poker, casino games, or sports betting. It is also not following many other states into the world of daily fantasy sports.
The closest that the state has come to online gaming is to allow online purchases of lottery tickets.
There are some in the North Dakota state government who support the federal attempt to ban online gambling in all states, which is a bill known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). In fact, the state’s attorney general has signed letters asking the US Department of Justice to overturn the 2011 DOJ decision regarding the Wire Act that gave states the right to legalize online poker and gaming.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: North Dakota players have several options for sites offering online gambling for money.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: It is unlikely that North Dakota would consider spending the time or money to prosecute offshore-based internet gambling or sports betting sites. Even working with internet service providers to block access for North Dakotans seems unlikely in the near future.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: No. Even if North Dakota pursued some type of action, it would focus on the operators of the online gaming sites, not the players. There are too many players who log on every day from the state for recreational purposes, and it would be an arduous process to even track them down, much less try to charge them with misdemeanors when the law does not even specify the state’s stance on internet gambling or sports betting.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: Online gambling sites that have valid licenses typically must agree to keep player monies in a separate location from other company funds. This ensures that player accounts are secure in the case of a shutdown or even a market closure. Players should be able to transfer their money to another site or withdraw account balances whenever they choose.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: Every site is different and offers a variety of options for players to fund their accounts or take money out. Most operators that have players in the US make certain methods available for convenience of depositing, like debit and credit cards or bank transfers. Withdrawals tend to be more limited and may only allow checks by courier, which are completed in one to two weeks. Many new players are using bitcoin to deposit and withdraw, as it is the only method with all types of funding available, and it is one of the most convenient methods. Players should check with their favorite site to see what is available.