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Minnesota Online Gambling Laws

The State of Minnesota Gambling Laws permits casinos operated by Indian Tribes as well as charitable gambling. There are currently eleven gaming compacts between Minnesota and multiple Tribal governments which allow the following games to operate in the Tribal casinos: bingo, slot machines, blackjack, off-track horse betting, and pari-mutuel betting.

There are no federal laws that specifically prohibit playing online poker and casinos games. The Wire Act will not apply to online gambling and poker. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act applies only to gambling site operators and financial institutions that process the payments associated with online gambling, and does not prohibit Minnesota online casino gambling, MN online poker, or even online sports betting for Minnesota bettors. In fact, the UIGEA does not prohibit any USA player from participating in legally licensed and regulated online gambling as long as it is either located in a state that has legalized online gambling, or at a legitimate site outside of the United States.

Land Based Gambling Laws In Minnesota

The state of Minnesota has a tradition of strong anti-gambling laws. Way back in 1850, the state outlawed gambling. Subsequently in 1857 a similar stance was enshrined in the state Constitution. Under Minnesota law, unless specifically permitted by law, all forms of gambling are illegal. The definition of gambling under Minnesota gambling law is rather broad and includes not just the act of gambling itself but also acts associated with gambling. In Minnesota the following acts are misdemeanor offenses:

Under Minnesota gambling law, a bet is a bargain where the parties mutually agree to a loss or gain by one to the other of a specified amount of money, benefit or property on the outcome of an event dependent on chance even if it is accompanied by some degree of skill. The law also defines the acts that do not amount to betting – approved pari-mutuel wagering, raffles, state lottery and private social gambling. There is no specific mention of poker on the list of acts that do not amount to betting.

Gambling Penalties Under Minnesota Law

Certain gambling related offenses, especially the offense of operating an illegal gambling activity are gross misdemeanor offenses. Persons who participate in an illegal gambling activity as players can also face gross misdemeanor charges under certain circumstances especially if they are found participating in the income of a gambling place.

Minnesota Land Based Poker Laws

There are licensed gaming facilities in the state of Minnesota where one can play poker. It is illegal to use probability calculating devices at such facilities in the state. The law bans counting or keeping track of cards used in a game. The state has not passed any law to regulate or license state based online poker or other type of online gambling. Minnesota online gambling opportunities remain at sites located outside of the United States as of this writing.

Home poker games are legal in Minnesota as long as no one profits from the game or gets a cut from the profits of the game. Homes games that are advertised or regularly scheduled are illegal. The home game must be a random game to be legal. Private poker tournaments with low value prized and no fee or buy-in are legal in Minnesota.

Minnesota Pari-Mutuel and Lottery Gambling Laws

The state does have a state lottery and licensed race tracks. Pari-mutuel wagering is legal at the race tracks in Minnesota. Charitable gambling is legal in Minnesota and there is a big charitable gaming industry in the state. Minnesota also has a host of gaming facilities operated and managed by the Indian tribes. Some of these gaming facilities also offer mobile gambling.

Timeline of Minnesota Gambling Laws

Minnesota legalized bingo in 1945. Around that time there were over 8000 slot machines in the state. The state looked at slot machines as a problem and the then governor began to crack down on slot machines. As a result by 1950 there were less than 1000 slot machines in the state. In 1952 there were just two slot machines in the entire state. In 1963 the law was changed to include an exemption to the existing gambling law. As a result, private betting was made legal in the state as long as it was not associated to commercialized, organized or systematic gambling. Raffles was legalized in 1978 while pull tabs were legalized in 1981. Horse racing and pari-mutuel betting were legalized in 1982. The state lottery was approved in 1989. The law was changed in 1999 to allow race tracks to run card clubs for games like blackjack and poker.

Efforts By Minnesota To Regulate Online Gambling

In September 2012, Minnesota took its first step towards regulating online gambling when it approved the use of electronic pull tab machines that would allow games to be played remotely from an approved location using a tablet. This in many ways resembles a slot machine.

In 2009 the state made a futile attempt to compel ISPs to block access to online gambling sites. Other than approving electronic pull tab machines in 2012, Minnesota has not made legislative attempts to legalize online gambling or online poker.

It is not illegal for residents to participate in Minnesota online gambling that is licensed and regulated outside of the United States. As mentioned before, the UIGEA federal law does not prohibit or criminalize participation in online gambling by USA players, including those from Minnesota. In fact, the law does not affect players directly in any way as it is directed at online gambling site operators and payment processors.

Minnesota Gambling Laws

Players who would like to review the official laws and statutes for Minnesota gambling can do so here: Minnesota Office of Statutes. This link provides access to the state's records and you will see the laws in their original language and format.

**This guide is provided for informational purposes only and is not provided to serve as legal advice or a professional interpretation of the law. We are online gambling consultants and are not qualified lawyers to provide any type of legal interpretation or legal advice. For those types of services please contact a lawyer.