If you do not know much about North Dakota, you are probably not alone. The state is a mystery to most people simply because it is not very populated and is not one of the nation’s top tourist destinations. With all that being said, the state is home to plenty of gambling options and has been for quite some time. The way in which casinos exist in North Dakota is not entirely different from states like Florida, and that explains the somewhat restrictive state laws that are skirted by casino operators.
To put it simply, the state of North Dakota has fairly strict laws when it comes to the type of gambling that is available. This may lead you to believe that there really aren’t many options for gambling in the state, but that is simply not true. The following will elaborate more on the casino industry in the state, including what outsiders need to know before heading there.
North Dakota Online Casinos
Unregulated gambling is illegal in North Dakota. The penalties depend on the amount of money involved. With less $500 involved, unlawful gambling is considered a minor infraction. With more than $500, the authorities are likely to press Class A misdemeanor charges. It’s important to realize that it’s impossible to determine whether this extends to internet games or not, as online play isn’t directly mentioned in the relevant regulations.
The local courts have never had a chance to tackle this issue due to the fact that no offshore sites’ customers have been prosecuted so far, so most gamblers simply pursue their hobby online without even realizing how ambiguous the legal status of iGaming actually is.
North Dakota residents are able to access virtually every iGaming site that accepts US-based players, so it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of available poker rooms, casinos, and sportsbooks if you’re an inexperienced gambler. Fortunately, picking a quality site isn’t all that hard if you follow a few simple guidelines.
If you’re a poker player, you shouldn’t bother with low-traffic sites, as their cash games are often empty and the tournaments they host tend to have underwhelming prize pools. If you’re looking for casino-style action, you should focus on the sites that offer the best bonuses and game selection.
Finally, if you’re interested in sports betting, you should try to assess each site in terms of prices, event coverage, and the available live in-play options.
North Dakota Casinos
Dakota Magic Casino
Spirit Lake Casino
Four Bears Casino
Prairie Knights Casino and Resort
Gambling in North Dakota
North Dakota gives you access to all the popular gambling options available in the United States. The local casinos are all tribal-owned and offer slots as well as classic table games. Pari-mutuel horse race betting is available at the North Dakota Horse Park.
The state has some charity gambling events and operates its own lottery, but North Dakota legislators haven’t introduced any iGaming-friendly legislation. As a result, the local iGaming enthusiasts simply stick to playing on offshore sites.
Casinos in North Dakota
When you think of North Dakota, you probably picture farms (they constitute 90% of all ND land), low temperatures, and very few people. Although those things are all true, you might be surprised to learn that for such a small and isolated state, North Dakota boasts quite a vibrant gambling scene.
There are six tribal casinos operating with Class III gaming licenses in the state:
- 4 Bears Casino & Lodge (New Town): 700 slot machines, table games that include blackjack, craps, and roulette, as well as a poker room open five days a week (closed Monday and Tuesday)
- Dakota Magic Casino Hotel (Hankinson): 1,200 slot machines, blackjack, and craps
- Grand Treasure Casino (Trenton): 400 slot machines
- Prairie Knights Casino & Resort (Fort Yates): 700 slot machines, blackjack, craps, and three card poker
- Sky Dancer Casino & Resort (Belcourt): 700 slot machines, blackjack, bingo, and a poker room open five days a week (closed Tuesday and Thursday)
- Spirit Lake Casino & Resort (St. Michael): 650 slot machines, blackjack, three card poker, and a poker room open four days a week (closed Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday)
Charitable carve-out laws that allow non-profit organizations to fundraise through specific types of gambling are typically limited to bingo games and raffles. Those laws, which have been around since 1977, include pull tabs, punchboards, sports pools, blackjack, and poker. State law only prohibits the use of slot machines.
Many charitable organizations have partnered with bars and restaurants in the state, and there are now around 900 of these gaming establishments in operation.
In 2017, a bill was proposed to allow the state to build and operate six commercial casinos. It was soundly defeated in the legislature, and another effort to expand Class III gaming is not expected anytime soon.
You must be 21 to gamble at a North Dakota casino.
If you want to play a game other than bingo at a charitable gaming location, you must also be 21.
Tribal/Native American Casinos
Currently, the biggest and best option for casino-style gambling in North Dakota is that which takes place on tribal lands. The tribal gaming industry came about as a result of a Federal ruling which basically states that Native American tribes can offer their own casino games so long as the state in which they are located allows it. So this means that even though North Dakota does not allow private operators to run casinos, they do allow tribal operators.
Luckily, the games that you can play at tribal casinos in North Dakota are identical to those offered on the Las Vegas Strip. There are table games like blackjack and poker right alongside seemingly endless rows of slot games. All told, tribal gaming in North Dakota is a thriving and growing industry.
In North Dakota, there was an amendment made to state law that allowed for the existence of charitable gambling. As the name suggests, charitable casinos are those that offer games where the majority of revenue is distributed to charities and other social benefit programs. Though these casinos may not feature the wide expanse of games you will find at the state’s tribal casinos, there is still plenty to keep even the most demanding gambler entertained.
North Dakota Sportsbooks & Sports betting
The Supreme Court’s ruling in May of 2018 allowed states to make their own decisions on legal sports betting. North Dakota is trying to determine what this means for the state.
The main question involves the North Dakota tribes, who signed a compact with the state in 2013 that allows for a “sportsbook except as prohibited by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.” This act is now unconstitutional.
So far, none of the tribes have pushed to open a sportsbook. As for the rest of the state, lawmakers are expected to take up the idea in 2019. Whether it garners enough support from voters remains to be seen.
Fantasy Sports Gambling
In 2015, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said, “If daily fantasy sports is a game of chance, it’s not likely legal. And if it’s a game of skill, then it would likely be legal.”
Ever since that statement, the state has been quiet on the issue of DFS. There are no laws that address the legality of the contests, so all DFS companies currently operate in the state under the belief that it is a game of skill and therefore legal.
Horse racing is legal in North Dakota, and the state houses two racecourses where you can see live racing:
- North Dakota Horse Park (Fargo): Six days of live racing in July
- Chippewa Downs (Belcourt): Eight days of live racing in June
Off-track betting is also legal in the state, and the North Dakota Racing Commission lists the following legal brick-and-mortar and internet OTB sites:
- Lucky’s Bar and Lounge (Bismarck)
- SideStreet Grille and Pub (Fargo)
- Rumor’s (Grand Forks)
- Sky Dancer Casino (Belcourt)
You must be at least 18 to place a pari-mutuel bet.
There is no live greyhound racing in North Dakota.
North Dakota Poker Games
Along with the three tribal casinos that host poker rooms, there are many charitable gaming locations that offer poker in North Dakota. Because of the wide variety of frills in North Dakota poker rooms, you can expect a generous game selection. Texas Hold’em, the many variations of stud, Omaha, and dealer’s choice are all readily available.
As per North Dakota’s charitable gaming laws, charitable games carry a maximum bet of $1. Because these games never become high-stakes, the atmosphere tends to be friendly and social.
You must be 21 to play poker in North Dakota.
Online poker rooms are illegal.
North Dakota runs a lottery, but because of a quirk in the law not seen in most other states, tickets can only be sold for multi-state jackpots. The lottery does not offer North Dakota-exclusive games.
The multi-state games available in North Dakota are:
- Lucky for Life
- Lotto America
- Mega Millions
Despite the ND lottery’s singular focus on multi-jurisdictional gaming, the state offers a mobile app that allows players to purchase tickets online as well as scan physical tickets to find out if they’re winners.
You must be at least 18 to play.
You can play bingo at two of the tribal casinos – Sky Dancer Hotel & Casino and the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort – as well as hundreds of other locations operated by non-profit charitable license holders.
How easy is it to find bingo in North Dakota? There are 95 cities in the state with a population of at least 500 people, and more than 150 cities in North Dakota host regular bingo games.
Unless accompanied by an adult, you must be at least 18 to play.
North Dakota Casino History
Like most states that saw settlers move through, casino-style games and other games of chance have been in North Dakota as long as history has been recorded. When the state really took shape and began drafting laws, it was quickly established that all styles of gambling would be outlawed.
This remained the case for quite some time, until the year 1976 brought about some radical changes. In that year, a charitable gambling carve-out was initiated. When all said and done, state law was amended so that certain bingo-style games and other games of chance would be legal so long as a majority of the proceeds went to charitable organizations and state services for veterans, the elderly, and the disabled.
Then in 1992, on the heels of a Federal Act which allowed for Native American tribes to open casinos, the state negotiated with 5 Native tribes and eventually granted casino licensure to them. Since then, the same 5 tribes have operated the same 5 casinos across the state. Though there have been plenty of lawmakers who think that the tribes are overstepping the terms of the initial agreements, these tribes and their casinos are still able to offer a full range of casino games. At the present moment in time there is not much of a push to allow for commercial casinos, and that lack of push can likely be explained by the state’s tiny population. Without many people, and without a large tourism industry, adding more casinos—especially commercial casinos—is something that would do well to overwhelm the market more than anything else. Right now, the state’s 5 tribal casino are more than enough to satisfy the state’s casino needs.
North Dakota Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
If you’ve already picked a site that you’d like to join, your next move should be to open an account, make the first deposit and verify your account. The verification process isn’t instant and might take up to 48 hours to complete. Fortunately, once your account gets a green light you won’t have to go through that again.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
The money attached to your account can be cashed out at your request whenever you deem necessary, but you should keep in mind that most requests take between 24 and 48 hours to process. Most offshore sites rely on wire transfers when it comes to handling their payments, so in the end, you’re likely to receive your winnings within less than 14 days from placing the initial request.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in North Dakota?
Offshore sites require their customers to be at least 18 years old. You shouldn’t confuse this requirement with the legal gambling age for North Dakota casinos, which is actually set to 21.
How do I open an account?
You need to submit a registration form, which should be available on the site of the casino, poker room or sportsbook that you’d like to join. Please note that making a real money deposit will still require you to pass a simple identity check.
Where can I open my account from?
You don’t have to be present in North Dakota, but many sites require you to be present within the borders of United States.
From where can I access North Dakota online gambling sites?
North Dakota gambling sites can be accessed from anywhere in the entire country, but you should always consult the local laws before you try gambling online in a different state.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in North Dakota?
Gambling-related regulations are listed in Section 12 of North Dakota Code.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
In most cases, you’ll have to settle for a standard credit card payment, particularly if you’re making your first deposit.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
North Dakota sites tend to support both wire transfers and checks.
Is my money safe?
Your money is safe with any iGaming platform listed on this site. If you’d like to try a different operator, you should research his sites and history before you decide to commit your hard-earned money.
What body regulates gambling in North Dakota?
North Dakota Attorney General Gaming Division.