Casino Gambling in North Dakota
North Dakota Casino Guide
With a population of just under 700,000, North Dakota is one of the smallest states in terms of population, ranking in the bottom three. But even though they're small in numbers, North Dakota tends to be big on gambling. Online, North Dakota residents from Fargo to Minot can bet on horses, perfectly legally. And while there's no state-run or regulated online casino, North Dakota residents are known to frequent the thousands of online casino sites open to US residents and players around the world.
But it's not just the North Dakota Internet gambling sites that satisfies North Dakota's appetite for legit gambling. The state boasts a number of Native American casinos. Keep reading to discover how this small state is changing gambling in a big way.
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- Population: 699,628
- Land Size: 69,000 sq. miles
- Population 18+: 77.9%
- Gambling Age (Casinos): 21
- Gambling Age (Lottery): 18
- Number of Casinos: 7
- Nickname: Peace Garden State
- Illegal gambling before the 1970s wasn't prosecuted because it was run by charities
- Native American tribes handle all the casinos in the state
- Forget that free casino cocktail - milk is the state beverage
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Spirit Lake Casino & Resort7889 N Dakota 57
St Michael, ND 58370
Prairie Knights Casino & Resort7932 N Dakota 24
Fort Yates, ND 58538
Sky Dancer Hotel & Casino3965 N Dakota 5
Belcourt, ND 58316
History of North Dakota Gambling
North Dakota's gambling history is probably the United States' most interesting one. In the 1800s, residents of North Dakota played casino games openly, even though it was in violation of the law to do so. But here's the thing. Unlike other states where gambling was controlled by organized crime and the profits were used for questionable activities, gambling in North Dakota was as pure as it gets.
Authorities tended to turn a blind eye to illegal gambling operations because, for the most part, the people benefiting from illegal gambling were local charities. In fact, gambling was so tolerant that in the 1970s it was common for operators of the illegal games to advertise their casino nights - openly.
When the attorney general finally decided to enforce the gambling laws in the 1970s, residents of North Dakota petitioned for a change to the state constitution that would legalize gambling.
Today, casino games like blackjack and poker can be played at sites approved by the government, and as long as nonprofit charity groups are the ones benefiting from the games.
Local Casino Venues
You won't find any state-run casinos in North Dakota. But that doesn't mean there's a shortage of gambling opportunities for fans of North Dakota online casinos and land-based gambling. There are five recognized tribes in North Dakota, including the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation. Together, the tribes run seven different land-based casinos. Each property features all the regular games found in most North Dakota online gambling sites, including slots, roulette, blackjack, and more.
You can also find table games at charity casinos in North Dakota. Online gambling fans who are used to wagering whatever they want should note that individual wagers at the charity casinos are limited to just $5 per hand.
Casino Gambling Age Restrictions
The gambling age in North Dakota varies based on the type of North Dakota gambling you want to engage in. If you're thinking about hitting one of the state's tribal casinos, you need to be 21 years old. However, if you want to play the state lottery, you only need to be 18 years old. For North Dakota Online casinos, residents should abide by the 21-and-over rule established for land-based casinos.
The State of Online Gambling in North Dakota
In North Dakota, online gambling is actually alive and well. North Dakota residents are free to bet on simulcast horse racing over the Internet - completely legally and state-approved. However, while horserace betting is wide open, there is no planned online casino legislation in the works.
But here's an interesting tidbit. Back in 2005, the North Dakota House of Representatives passed an online poker bill. However, it didn't make it through the North Dakota Senate thanks to the Department of Justice's claim that poker was illegal (they've since clarified their stance and reassured casino players that the wire act doesn't apply to poker or casino games).
The Future of North Dakota Casino Gambling
It's unlikely that North Dakota will put forth any sort of online casino legislation soon. While other states like New Jersey and Nevada have legalized online gambling, North Dakota's tiny population of less than 700,000 means that there isn't a large enough pool of casino players to create a viable and profitable online casino for the gamblers of Bismark or Grand Forks. However, if legislation passes at the federal level, things could very well change.
While no online casino legislation exists today, North Dakota online gamblers can enjoy casino games at the state's Native American casinos or play their favorite games at online casinos in North Dakota that operate from outside the state. And that adds up to a lot of big gambling options for such a tiny state.
Gambler's Note: North Dakota casino laws are always changing. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. Always consult North Dakota state law and local regulations before playing at an North Dakota online gambling site.
North Dakota Department of Human Services/2-1-1 ProgramAn in-depth FAQ and numerous treatment and support resources are available on this website, and via their 24-hour compulsive gambling aid hotline.
Recovery Connection/North DakotaThis site helps you define compulsive gambling to see if you fit the profile of a problem gambler; it then offers various treatment and support options to help you conquer your addictions.