Minnesota Gambling Laws

Minnesota Gambling LawsWhile Minnesota is widely known by its nickname of ‘Land-of-10 000-Lakes’ gambling in Minnesota feels occasionally like it offers just as many betting options for its residents-and-visitors. Other than being the number one state in the nation for charitable gambling, the state offers more than 20 Tribal Casinos, Poker Rooms, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), Horse Racing and a State Lottery.

See below the table outlining Minnesota’s current legal environment on casinos online and online gambling, sports betting laws and betting on sports in general etc.;

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes Yes
Charitable-Gambling Yes No

Minnesota Gambling Tax Rate

Minnesota has a 7.25% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large wins attract Federal taxes.

Legal Gambling Age in Minnesota

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 18-21 (Varies)
DFS 18
Horse-Racing 18
Lottery 18
Charitable-Gambling 18

Minnesota Sports Betting Laws

May 2018 was a U-turn month for US sports betting laws, when the Supreme Court transformed gambling laws in the nation. The U.S. Supreme Court reconstructed the entire legal sports betting landscape, by handing back-to-state governments the possibility to decide on their own individual sports betting laws.

Almost immediately, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia and Mississippi joined long-legal Nevada, and many other states are drafting legislation in order to join the sports betting party.

Sports Betting in Minnesota

Betting on sports is not yet a reality in Minnesota and there is no pending debate on the topic scheduled for the Minnesota State Legislature.

Many state legislators have commented that legalizing sports betting would assist Minnesota in fending-off-the-challenge from off-shore-based sportsbooks.

Minnesota’s State Legislators will first need to debate, draft and pass new laws in order to institute legal sports betting. We are anticipating that several sports betting bills will be introduced to the North Star State when legislators reconvene in 2019 to debate administrative details like the feasibility of online sports betting and the level of sports betting taxes.

Until then, see directly below for online sports betting options that currently exist for Minnesota’s state residents-and-visitors.

Online Sports Betting in Minnesota

Sports Betting Online is currently unregulated and unlicensed (therefore, illegal) in the state of Minnesota as the topic has not yet been discussed by the state’s legislators.

The question of legal sports betting online is anticipated to be debated by the Minnesota State Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

Meanwhile, online DFS and horse and greyhound racing online betting options are all fully legal for residents and visitors in Minnesota until the legislators give them an opportunity to place a legal wager on the Vikings or Twins.

Casinos in Minnesota

Gambling laws in Minnesota clearly allow for bricks-and-mortar land-based Tribal casinos on First American lands. Private parties and the state cannot operate casinos in the state.

Minnesota’s Land-based Casinos

Minnesota’s more-than 20 Tribal casinos offer slots, blackjack, baccarat, poker and video gaming machines. In total, you’ll find more than 22 500 slots and gaming machines available at Minnesota’s casinos and almost 300 table games.

It’s worthwhile to note that Minnesota’s casinos that serve alcohol have a minimum legal gambling age of 21, whilst those casinos that choose not to make alcohol available to its patrons have a minimum gambling age of 18.

Online Casinos in Minnesota

Gambling online with casino games is not yet legal in Minnesota. The state will need to enact online gambling laws and draft legislation to authorize the leisure activity. Legislators will also need to create some sort of regulatory system to ensure the safety and security of players and gaming operators in the state.

For now, State lawmakers haven’t had the opportunity to address the legality of online casino games and create online casino laws. Meanwhile, then;

Online players in the state of Minnesota should avoid playing ANY online casinos (both U.S.-based-online-casinos and off-shore online casinos) until a legalization of online casinos occurs in the state.

For players in Minnesota wishing to gamble online until the topic of online casinos has been addressed can;

  • Play the state’s excellent State Lottery (available online).
  • Take part in legal online DFS competitions.
  • Place wagers through fully legal horse and greyhound racing websites.

Horse Racing Betting in Minnesota

Horse Racing in Minnesota provides a number of betting opportunities for aficionados of ‘sport of kings’ with possibilities to place wagers on thoroughbred racing, quarter horses and harness racing.  All forms of horse racing in the state are administered by the Minnesota Racing Commission and legislated through Chapter 240 of the Minnesota State Statutes.

Track Side: Minnesota has one thoroughbred racing track and one harness racing track where race meetings are held throughout the year. Race days are also held throughout the state under license at county fairs (usually in summer only).

Off-Track Betting (OTB): OTB’s are banned in the state of Minnesota. However, online betting is available for the state’s residents.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Minnesota: Horse/greyhound betting can be legally offered online to Minnesotans. The only restriction is that online betting is not available at races held in Minnesota. Accordingly, residents of Minnesota over the age of 18 have 100% legal access to online horse betting sites offering betting options on all the popular races throughout the United States (other than Minnesota) and major worldwide race meetings.

Minnesota’s Daily Fantasy Sports Laws

The Federal Government’s understanding is that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions are skills-based games, not games of chance and therefore, they are not considered to be gambling. Each state has been encouraged to declare their own position on the legality of DFS competitions.

Minnesota’s State Legislators has never gotten around to formally legalizing DFS. It seems that the topic is not given the utmost importance as DFS competitions have operated openly in Minnesota for many years. DFS sites exist and operate in a legal grey area in Minnesota but no-one expects the games to be shut down. Lawmakers’ objections to formally legalizing DFS in Minnesota have more to do with disagreeing on licensing fees and taxes, than they do with any objection to the practice.

Meanwhile, all major DFS sites accept players from Minnesota.

DFS – An explanation of the popular game

 What is DFS exactly and why is it now so popular across the U.S.? With almost 60 million DFS players in the United States, it is surprising that DFS is still an unknown quantity to many Americans.

Many Americans question decisions as they root for their favorite sports teams. Coaches face either heavy criticism or are cheered based on the decisions they make for their team. Contract extensions, player trades and free agency decisions are only a few of the decisions team owners and coaches must make. From the fan’s perspective, many believe that they could do better. DFS provides an avenue for such dreams.

Participants in DFS act as team owners or general managers, and select athletes to form a fantasy team. Athletes amass fantasy points during a sporting event based on their on-field performance. A fantasy team’s total score is the total of each selected athlete’s fantasy points. Participants are ranked amongst each other based on the team’s fantasy points and prizes are awarded.

The two main versions of fantasy sports are season long and daily. DFS competitions usually last for a single set of games, which typically range from a single day to an entire weekend. In a season-long fantasy league competition, participants select players and compete over the course of the season.

DFS betting is available on the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, college basketball and football, and some DFS companies also offer PGA Tournament Golf DFS competitions.

The person whose team accumulates the most points, wins their DFS league, whether that is a daily, weekly, regular season or stand-alone playoff ‘league’ or competition and can potentially receive as much as $1 million per competition, per major league.

Poker Laws in Minnesota

Live Poker in Minnesota is conducted in some of the states Tribal Casinos, and both of the state’s racetracks feature live poker along with other table games.

Minnesota also has more lenient than average social poker laws. Private home tournaments can be held so long as the host isn’t profiting (either directly or indirectly) on the betting action. The main stipulation of Minnesota’s social gaming law is that no individual can win more than $200 in a given day.

Poker can also be played in Minnesota through charity-based tournaments. As per the home and social games law, prizes must be capped to avoid violating the North Star State’s gambling laws.

Online Poker Laws in Minnesota

Currently, Minnesota’s online players are unable to play Poker online, however, as there are no specific laws written on the subject. The assumption is that online poker is illegal. We will advise you of any potential change in the status of legal online poker change in Minnesota.

The state’s potential online gamblers can, however, place wagers online for the Minnesota State Lottery, DFS competitions and horse and greyhound racing.

Minnesota eSports Betting

When sports betting arrives in Minnesota as a fully legal wagering option, eSports betting will bring a new pristine and disruptive ‘family-friendly’ form of sports betting to a new breed of gamblers looking for options unblemished by the ‘illegal’ historic tag.

Why ‘eSports’ are so popular now

Professional video game competitions are a big thing these days. They’re called ‘eSports’ and they are a big deal that has developed from the days of the underground gaming community to become a mainstream sport, now growing at an unprecedented rate. Players from around the world compete for professional teams in tournaments offering prize pools worth up to millions of dollars. Many of these competitions attract huge global audiences. Tens of thousands of people attend eSports events in packed stadiums, and millions more watch online.

The interest in esports is increasing daily. Yes, there are those wanting to watch and play the games; however, big bettors want to place wagers and win big on the professional video game contests. Many international sportsbooks offer betting markets on the major competitive global eSports tournaments, and eSports betting is growing exponentially at a rate directly correlated to developments in live video streaming technology.

StarCraft, CS:GO, Overwatch and Fortnite, are just some of the most popular games, and the big pro teams compete for glory as gamblers worldwide (including soon in Minnesota with the co-operation of the state’s lawmakers) cash in on the action.

Benefits of Legal Gambling to Minnesota

  • As mentioned previously, Minnesota is the number one state in the nation when it comes to Charitable Gambling. Much of the almost $2 billion annually raised from charitable gambling including raffles, bingo, pull-tabs goes to;
    • Welfare organizations.
    • New entrepreneur’s self-help organizations.
    • Sporting Clubs.
    • Low cost Kindergartens and Day-Care.
    • Veterans Assistance Funds.
    • Sports Stadium Development.
    • Employment Assistance Programs and;
    • Organizations for Kids in Need.
  • Given the predominance of Tribal Casinos within the Minnesota gambling sector, Native Americans benefit more so in the North Star State than elsewhere with;
    • Job creation.
    • Economic Growth.
    • Rediscovering Tribal Culture through strong Tribal Government.
    • Bringing prosperity to rural Minnesota.
    • Tribes purchase more than $717 million in goods-and-services annually, including more than $482 million from Minnesota businesses.
    • Tribal casinos attract almost 23 million visitors annually.

History of Gambling in Minnesota

1945; Charitable Gambling (Bingo at first) legalized in Minnesota.

1947; Anti-slot machine law enacted.

1972; State Lottery begins in Minnesota.

1978; Paddlewheels, raffles and tip-boards legalized for charitable gaming purposes. Pull-tabs would be added in 1981.

1981; Federal Court allows Minnesota tribes to operate bingo.

1982; Horse racing legalized in Minnesota.

1983; Minnesota Racing Commission created.

1986; Video Gaming Machines appear in Tribal Casinos. Blackjack and other table games added in 1991.

1999; Live poker and other card games first offered at Minnesota racetracks.

2012; Electronic gambling devices allowed in football stadiums to fund stadium development.



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