North Dakota is the least populated state in the US and also one of the most rural. However, the state’s rural character is not seen in the gambling options on offer. Namely, with dozens of charity organizations, tribal casinos, pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks, multi-state lotteries, and other gaming opportunities, North Dakota provides more gambling options per capita than most other states.
However, online gambling seems to have fallen through the legislative cracks and remains completely illegal. There are no online casinos nor poker rooms in North Dakota, at least not licensed ones. Still, online gaming options can be found in offshore casinos that accept players from North Dakota. In this article, we are going to tell you more about online casinos and gambling in North Dakota and its future outlook.
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Gambling laws are often misleading and incongruous, which means players might need some legal background in order to understand if gambling is legal or not in the state.
For example, online gambling is not explicitly mentioned in any of the state codes and statutes, meaning it has not been made explicitly legal or illegal.
When it comes to North Dakota, gambling is regulated in Article XI of the Peace Garden State’s Constitution. It sees gambling as “risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain, contingent, wholly or partially, upon lot, chance, the operation of gambling apparatus, or the happening or outcome of an event, including an election or sporting event, over which the person taking the risk has no control.”
Any form of gambling not specifically licensed by the State Code is deemed illegal and will incur severe penalties for those who partake in such activities. Illegal gambling is marked as a Class C felony.
However, some exceptions have been made over the years. First, in 1977, charitable gaming was regulated, which allowed non-profit organizations to host bingo nights through which they did much of their charity work. These organizations can also offer pull-tabs, sports pools, blackjack, punchboards, poker, Calcutta pools, paddlewheels, and raffles.
Then, pari-mutuel betting was introduced and licensed in 1987 at two racetracks in the country – Chippewa Downs Racetrack and North Dakota Horse Park that offer live and off-track betting on horse and dog races.
North Dakota offers national lotteries, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, but there is no intrastate lottery, which is a curiosity. After The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted, it took a couple of years for North Dakota to sign first compacts and establish tribal casinos. Now, there are five tribal casinos in North Dakota.
The situation with online gambling in North Dakota does not seem favorable at all. Online gambling is not legal under North Dakota law, but the law says nothing about offshore online gambling. All players from North Dakota who want to gamble online can access offshore online casinos and poker rooms without any fear of legal retribution.
Legalizing online gambling in North Dakota seems to be a long way off. The latest attempt was back in 2005 when a bill was introduced by representative James Kasperaimed which aimed at regulating online poker in North Dakota. Unfortunately, it was defeated by a vast majority and was never made into law.
Since then, no further propositions were even debated, which means that the legalization of online gambling in North Dakota is not expected anytime soon as lawmakers do not seem interested in sponsoring the bill.
It is safe to say that North Dakota is losing a lot by not legalizing online gambling. Online gambling revenue in the USA is expected to reach $60 billion in 2020, and North Dakota is missing out on its piece of that gambling cake.
The land-based casino options in North Dakota are composed of tribal casinos scattered around the Garden State. Some of these casinos feature luxurious hotels to go along with superb gaming floors with hundreds of slot machines, table games, bingo, keno, and many others. Here are some of the top brick-and-mortar casino options in North Dakota.
4 Bears Casino & Lodge is a premium gaming venue built in the Four Bears Village at New Town and operated by Hidatsa and Arikara nations. There are 120,000 square feet of gaming space and a lux lodge with 220 renovated rooms with the view on Lake Sakakawea. The gaming options include over 700 different slots, and dozens of blackjack, craps, and roulette tables with limits that range from $3 to $100, plus a couple of high-roller blackjack tables where you can bet up to $250 per hand.
Aside from all this, 4 Bears Casino & Lodge has several dining options, including the Bison Room Steakhouse that overlooks the lake and offers prime beef, fresh seafood, and homemade desserts.
Spirit Lake Casino & Resort boasts one of the largest gaming offers out of all casinos in North Dakota. There are over 700 different slot machines and a considerable number of blackjack, craps, and even bingo games. Spirit Lake Casino & Resort offers breath-taking views of the Spirit Lake from one of the 123 rooms featured in the resort. There is also a specialized RV park, cabins, and lake cottages visitors can stay in.
Located in Hankinson, North Dakota, the Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel is one of the all-time favorite gaming venues for North Dakotans. The facility is equipped with a 120-room hotel, a convention center that can house 1,500 people, and a top-of-the-line casino floor with over 900 different slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker tables. If you want to delight your taste buds, Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel offers four different dining options, represented by Twin Buffalo Grill that serves scrumptious barbecue and beef specialties.
North Dakota can be regarded as a gambling-friendly state, as tribal casinos, charitable gaming, lottery, and pari-mutuel are already legalized and fully operational. Sadly, the same does not apply to online gambling. Online casinos and poker rooms are not legal in North Dakota, so you can switch to land-based tribal casinos and enjoy some gaming there.
Also, offshore online casinos are always an option. It is not illegal to play in offshore online casinos as they do not operate from North Dakota. Offshore casinos are also licensed and regulated by reputable gambling jurisdictions like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority that guarantee their security and fairness.
Unfortunately, online casinos are not legal in North Dakota.
At the moment, online poker is also considered illegal in North Dakota.
The minimum gambling age for playing in casinos in North Dakota is 21, while to engage in bingo draws, you need to be at least 18.
Offshore casinos are available to players from North Dakota, and there isn’t a section of the state law that says you can’t play in offshore casinos. Consult a lawyer on the matter, if you wish to be extra safe.
Given the circumstances and the general lack of interest from lawmakers, North Dakota seems to be very far from legalizing online gambling.