Minnesota Casinos & Gambling

Though it may not be known by a wealth of people, the Midwestern United States is a hidden gem when it comes to casino gambling. Though this is not true of every state, there are plenty of gambling locations throughout the region. Minnesota, in particular, is home to a large number of casinos and has been for quite some time. Like some of its neighbors, the existence of casinos in Minnesota has a lot to do with the effort made to prevent money from leaving the state via Canadian casinos.

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Minnesota Casinos

Black Bear Casino Resort
Canterbury Park
Fond-du-luth Casino
Fortune Bay Resort Casino
Grand Casino Hinckley
Grand Casino Mile Lacs
Grand Portage Lodge and Casino
Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel
Little Six Casino
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
Northern Lights Casino
Palace Casino and Hotel
Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort
Running Aces Harness Park
Seven Clans Casino Red Lake
Seven Clans Casino Thief River Falls
Seven Clans Casino Warroad
Shooting Star Casino
Treasure Island Resort and Casino
White Oak Casino

Gambling in Minnesota

Minnesota is perhaps most famous among US gambling enthusiasts for its tribal casinos, most of which are located in Carlton, Scott, St. Louis and Cass. Other than that, Minnesota has pari-mutuel betting, which is available at the Canterbury Park, as well as charity gambling events and a state-run lottery.

Home games are allowed as long as there is no rake involved. When it comes to remote gambling, the state has introduced remote pull-tabs in 2012. However, Minnesota doesn’t have a real intrastate iGaming industry and the local politicians aren’t interested in passing new online gambling-friendly legislation.

Casinos in Minnesota

Minnesota does not currently allow state casinos; however, thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, players can legally access more than 20 brick-and-mortar casino establishments situated on Native American reservations. These casinos host all types of slot machines, video poker, and table games.

Some of the most popular Minnesota casinos are:

  • Mystic Lake Casino located in Prior Lake
  • Treasure Island Resort and Casino located in Welch
  • Fortune Bay Resort Casino located in Tower
  • Grand Casino Hinckley located in Hinckley
  • Prairie’s Edge Casino located in Granite

Dice games may be played in bars and restaurants so long as the prizes are limited to food and beverage items.

Players may own and operate gambling devices in their own home for entertainment purposes. Social casino games are legal as long as the prizes do not exceed $200. Slot machines do not need to be considered antiques to be privately owned and operated.

Native American/Tribal Casinos

Just a little bit of research will show you that a large majority of the casinos in Minnesota are of the Native American variety. What this means is that the casinos in question are both situated on land owned by Native tribes and operated by the tribes too. For the average casino-goer, the fact that these are considered to be Native American casinos is not something that will have much, if any, impact on your overall gaming experience. The reason for this is due to the fact that they are much like the casinos you will find in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Most come complete with a great selection of casino games as well as amenities such as hotels and restaurants.

Card Rooms

Card rooms in Minnesota are not, by definition, casinos, but they are important to take note of. In Minnesota, card rooms are typically located at racetracks and are unique in that they really only offer poker. Apart from the different variations of the game of poker, you will find no other forms of gambling other than, perhaps, pari-mutuel wagering (due to their being located at racetracks).

With that being said, the existence of standalone card rooms meant that the tribal casinos in the state are also allowed to offer poker games.

Minnesota Sportsbooks & Sports betting

Recently, the US Supreme Court rules in favor of state-level gambling regulation. Many Minnesota legislators have been working hard to push a bill that would capitalize on the opportunity and legalize sports betting. However, the bill failed to generate a joint resolution and must wait till 2019 for its next ruling.

State Representative Pat Garofalo believes that sports gambling is a lucrative opportunity for Minnesota. Native American tribes are using the extra time to try and take advantage of sports wagering as well. With the increasing demand for sports gambling in Minnesota, there’s a high chance of the state legalizing it in the next year or two.

eSports and fantasy gambling

Minnesota does not differentiate between wagers made on electronic sports (eSports) games and traditional sports games. As a result, betting on the outcome of an eSports game is currently prohibited. If passed, the Minnesota legislation pushing for the legalization of sports gambling would legalize eSports betting as well.

A bill proposed in the spring of 2018 that would legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS) gambling in Minnesota failed to pass by an overwhelming vote. State legislators view betting on fantasy sports as another form of gambling that could bring harm to regular players.

The failed bill is currently undergoing revisions to introduce more regulation to DFS betting in an effort to make it safer for gamblers. After these new regulations have been implemented, the bill will be reintroduced to the house floor in 2019. For now, it is illegal to place wagers on fantasy sports in Minnesota.

Animal racing

Minnesota offers a limited selection of horse race wagering options. Players may legally make pari-mutuel wagers, but only on-track and licensed establishments. Thoroughbred and quarter horse racing can be found at:

  • Canterbury Park located in Shakopee
  • Running Aces located in Columbus

Poker

Most of the major casinos in Minnesota offer live poker table games. Charity gaming events that host poker are also commonplace in the state.

Minnesota defines social betting as any gambling done outside of organized or commercialized gambling enterprises. This wording permits players to legally host private games of poker as long as they’re not marketed to the public and revenue is not generated.

Players looking to gamble in the convenience of their own home can use our list of recommended online casinos to find great online poker tables.

Lottery

The Minnesota state lottery has been running for 25 years, awarding winners with hard cash. Currently, the Minnesota in-state lottery offers games such as:

  • Daily 3
  • Gopher 5
  • Northstar Cash

Popular multi-state lottery games are also available, including:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Lucky for Life
  • Hot Lotto

Minnesota’s lottery is more generous than most of the other US state lotteries, allowing lottery winners to keep 60% of the prize money. Lottery operators and advertisers get 17.75% of the earnings to cover their costs, and the state claims anything left over in the form of taxes.

Minnesota directs all revenue generated by lottery taxes to the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Lottery winners may be subject to garnishment if they are delinquent on their taxes or child support. Prize money must be claimed within one year of the award date; otherwise, the money is considered forfeit and goes to the lotteries and the state.

Bingo

Even though Minnesota is not allowed to tax the sovereign Native American reservations, the state still collects over a billion dollars in revenue from charity gambling events. Minnesota hosts more charity gaming than any other state in the US, and it’s extremely liberal in its definition of charity gambling. Any state-recognized non-profit organization may host:

  • Bingo
  • Pull-tabs
  • Raffles
  • Paddlewheels
  • Cribbage
  • Bridge
  • Gin
  • Texas hold’em

And many more.

Minnesota Casino History

The casino history of Minnesota really began to take shape in the mid-1940s when bingo and other raffle games were legalized. Since then, the bingo industry has grown to be one of the biggest, highest-earning in the nation. After the legalization in the 1940s, things remained quiet for a good while in Minnesota. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when Minnesota’s many Native tribes began fighting court battles in an effort to have the state grant them bingo licenses as well. These battles were successful and by the mid-1980s there were quite a few tribal-run bingo halls across the state.

In the following years, the tribes continued taking up their issues with the courts and were eventually allowed to host video poker games, slot games, table games, and eventually poker. By the end of the 1990s, the tribal casino industry in the state of Minnesota was thriving. At this point in time the state also legalized the existence of card rooms which were to be located, almost exclusively, at horse and dog tracks around the state. Since the turn of the century there really haven’t been too many major developments on the land-based casino front. As for whether or not Minnesota will ever grant casino licenses to companies and organizations that are not affiliated with Native American tribes, that much remains unclear. There are currently no pieces of legislation being fought over, so the preliminary thought is that Minnesota’s lawmakers are content to keep the scope of gambling exactly where it is presently.