Online Gambling for Real Money in North Dakota

North Dakota is much more like Nevada than meets the eye, much more than you would think looking at the state’s 7 tribal casinos and no commercial ones. It turns out that you can gamble all you want in North Dakota provided you don’t bet over $25. There are 800 locations where you can play charitable blackjack for up to $25 a hand. There are many more places online you can gamble at, ones that don’t worry about how much you can bet.

North Dakota Online Gambling – An Introduction

North Dakota has traditionally been a very conservative state when it comes to real money gambling, not getting its first taste of legal gambling until 1975, and really taking its time with approving things like pari-mutuel betting and the lottery, decades later than the progressive states allowed such things.

North Dakota was like someone who tried something new and wanted more, and that’s exactly what happened here. The state has gone from no gambling at all to being on the leading edge where allowing land-based gambling goes.

Don’t be fooled by this state only allowing the lottery, a racetrack to bet on horses at, and charitable gambling. This doesn’t sound like much until you consider just how big charitable gambling is here, and it is now bigger than anything else they have in this state as far as gambling goes.

There is a huge amount of gambling that meets the eye in North Dakota, as well as a whole lot out there that isn’t so easy to see. We will show you both.

History of Gambling in North Dakota

North Dakota Online Casinos and GamblingLegal public gambling is a relatively new phenomenon to the state of North Dakota, who historically have banned gambling in all forms. North Dakota didn’t officially legalize charitable gambling until 1976, and although charitable gambling usually only comprises a small proportion of a state’s overall gambling revenue, that’s far from the case in this state as it comprises over half of the money spent on gambling in North Dakota.

The way that North Dakota has approached charitable gambling is to use its making it explicitly legal together with the limitations of North Dakota’s gambling laws to permit the widespread growth that charitable gambling has seen in this state, with almost two dozen such licensed charitable casinos throughout the state these days.

North Dakota’s charitable gambling scene isn’t just limited to these charitable casinos though, as there are also over 100 bingo halls in the state, the more traditional form of charitable gambling, along with 800 sites throughout the state that offer charitable blackjack.

Charitable blackjack has grown to become so big because this is not playing for very small stakes like you would expect with charitable blackjack, or for prizes, as you can bet up to $25 a hand at these charitable games. This is not small stakes blackjack by any means, and this is the rule which has allowed gambling at blackjack to become so big that it has now become the single biggest form in the state.

This was quite a contrast from the old days when gambling was frowned upon, and the fact that North Dakota did not legalize pari-mutuel betting until 1987 speaks to just how conservative this state has been toward gambling over the years. Their not getting a state lottery until 2002 really hits this point home, although charitable blackjack is a lot bigger than the lottery in this state, which has the lowest per capita lottery sales in the country.

North Dakota ended up getting a full-time pari-mutuel track, the North Dakota Horse Park, as well as a part-time one run by the Chippewa Indians, Chippewa Downs. North Dakota has gone all in with horse race betting and allow it at the track, at off-track betting locations, and online.

North Dakota entered into compacts with its Indian tribes early on in the tribal gambling revival that started to sweep the country in the early 1990s, where in 1992, an agreement was reached. There are now a total of 13 Indian gaming locations in the state, with most offering both slots and casino table games.

In 2017, the state added the offering of electronic “e-tabs,” which sounds like the lottery but are just a fancy name for slot machines, with pull tabs themselves being a paper version of slots. The Indians were strongly opposed to this as they at the time had a monopoly on slots, but could not stop this change in the law from being passed.

There are more changes on the horizon. North Dakota has two separate sports betting bills out there and may hold a referendum in 2022 to allow it to be legalized. This is seeking to allow its charitable gambling industry to offer it, making an already big industry even bigger, far beyond what a charity could normally dream about.

North Dakota Key Facts

  • Abbreviation: ND
  • State Motto(s): Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
  • Capital City: Bismarck
  • Largest City: Fargo
  • Population Estimate: 762,062 (47th)
  • Website: nd.gov

North Dakota Gambling Laws

North Dakota’s laws concerning gambling follow a similar recipe as several other states, and this is a recipe that is quite successful in clearly defining the scope of gambling prohibition that a law sets out to define.

While this should not be problematic should states make at least a reasonable effort to define these conditions, many states are rather careless in their approach, with North Dakota’s sister state South Dakota being a prime example of this. It’s not that North Dakota’s gambling laws are perfect, but they are certainly a lot more clearly written than in many states.

North Dakota defines gambling as risking anything of value upon an outcome contingent upon “chance, in whole or in part,” the operation of “gambling apparatus,” or the “happening or outcome of an event, which the person taking the risk has no control” over the outcome.

That last part, betting on the happening or the outcome of an event that one has no control over, is broad enough in itself to exclude all gambling as well as a lot of other things, and even though the state does provide examples of this such as sports betting and betting on elections, there are a number of things that they do not want us thinking of as being under their definition of gambling.

North Dakota therefore provides a list of exceptions, and somehow felt the need to throw in “lawful contests of skill” in with them, as long as only the participants benefit, even though these are surely events that we have control over and isn’t included in their definition of gambling anyway.

North Dakota also allows “lawful business transactions,” which would have to mean business transactions not otherwise unlawful, although this includes everything that they may wish to ban, since they are business transactions as well. The goal of the law is to render certain activities unlawful, and anything that you don’t render unlawful is therefore lawful. We would have to understand gambling as not involving the conducting of business for this provision to add anything, and while that may have been the intent, gambling does indeed involve business transactions.

It doesn’t really matter anyway if acts that are clearly outside of the scope of gambling law are excluded, as it isn’t as if the police are going to raid investment brokerages or insurance companies or any sort of business that we do not normally consider to involve the sort of gambling that this and other gambling laws seek to target. They may involve risking money on the outcome of events not under one’s control, but are surely included in what the law refers to as legal business transactions.

Betting on outcomes of events outside our control is a very elegant way to ban all three types of gambling, including real money poker, real money casino games, and real money sports betting. The addition in the law of betting on events determined by chance or wagering on the outcome of devices aren’t even needed, although they do serve to clarify what sort of things the law is directed toward, games of chance and sports betting.

When you’re not so worried about making your gambling law too broad, this does tend to ensure that it at least includes what you want to include, and North Dakota’s gambling definition does so with no uncertainty.

It is not enough for a law to just define gambling, as there has to be some attempt to render it illegal to go along with it. Some states define gambling and then later tell you that it is against the law to offer it, so it isn’t a sure thing that something being deemed gambling is against the law to gamble at.

North Dakota is one of those states where a surprise is in store when you look at what sort of gambling is against the law in this state. Gambling is against the law in North Dakota when the value of a player’s wagers exceeds $25 per hand or event. So gambling in itself isn’t against the law here, it’s only against the law to bet over $25.

This is as close as you can come to having completely legal gambling without making it all legal. North Dakota is only concerned about higher stakes gambling and is perfectly fine with more modest wagering. $25 per hand or bet is a pretty generous amount for most players, and you can gamble at whatever you want at the finest casinos in the world with bets this size.

This only involves an “infraction,” and to qualify for a misdemeanor, you will be found betting over $500 per hand or event. The intention of the law here is clearly not to ban gambling at all but to place limits on it, to punish those that gamble with larger amounts.

This is not a loophole or a situation where the law ignores a certain type but no one is aware or pays attention to it, like so many states failing to successfully ban sports betting but still assuming it is illegal. The allowance of gambling within these betting limits is well recognized and is widely offered.

The only thing missing is a gambling license if you wish to offer such things legally, and North Dakota has decided to license gambling sites within these betting limits that are understood to be operating as a charity. This has led to many such places in the state, where you can make some pretty nice sized bets.

Land-Based Gambling in North Dakota

The charitable gambling business is no small player in North Dakota, even though the state also have 7 tribal casinos and 6 other Indian-operated gambling establishments. This is nothing compared to North Dakota charitable gambling, who not only have more casinos but a whole lot more other places to gamble.

North Dakota also offers betting on horse racing, and while the state only has a single full-time track, you can bet on all the races you want by way of off-track betting and online pari-mutuel betting. The North Dakota Race Park offers players both live racing onsite and plenty of off-track racing as well, and does well enough that they do not even have to offer any other sort of gambling, which they do not, in order to thrive.

North Dakota also has a lottery, like the great majority of other states do, but with so many other things to gamble on at so many locations, North Dakota’s lottery attracts the least interest per person than any other state in the country that offer lotteries. Interest is dwindling further since the state lottery chose to cannibalize their business by allowing slot machines but not using this to expand their business but to give it to charitable gambling operators instead.

Indians have had a prominent role in this state all along, and North Dakota’s 5 tribes were quick to step up to get their gambling licenses once Indian gaming took off in the early 1990s. Each of the state’s 5 tribes have at least one casino, in addition to a few other of their locations that they offer gambling at.

North Dakota’s Indian casinos are unique as far as land-based operations in the state go by being allowed a full range of casino gambling options. They used to have everything but blackjack to themselves, which charitable casinos have been permitted to offer, but with their now having slots as well, there’s less that the Indians have that no else has, and they are not happy with this.

These are not huge tribal casinos by any means, but given how saturated North Dakota is with gambling, this is to be expected. The biggest is the Dakota Magic Casino Resort, with 1,000 slots and 18 table games. Sky Dancer Casino Resort comes in second with 820 slots and 10 table games. Spirit Lake Casino and Resort has 725 slots, 15 table games, and 5 poker tables.

4 Bears Casino and Lodge have 700 slots, 8 table games, and 8 poker tables, while Prairie Knights Casino and Resort offers up 700 slots and 10 table games. Grand Treasure Casino has 200 slots, while the Turtle Mountain Mini Casino has 65 slots.

The rest of the gambling in the state consists of charitable gambling. Charities are allowed to participate, and it doesn’t really matter what charity you represent, you can offer real money blackjack at up to $25 a hand. Few casino players at real casinos bet more than this, so it’s not surprising that blackjack has become very popular here.

There are over 800 land-based locations that offer this charitable gambling, both blackjack and bingo, the games that the state has deemed to be worthy of them and the people in the state. They don’t really get to choose what the Indians offer, who do offer a full selection of casino table games, they can just pick whatever they want, and they have chosen the game of blackjack.

Blackjack does happen to be the most popular casino game in the country, by a good margin, and you just don’t see this many places to play it in a state of any size, other than Nevada who cater to tourists mostly. If you pretend that the only casino game is blackjack, and that no one ever bets more than $25 a hand on it, this actually is just like Nevada, and is the only other state that offers widespread casino table gaming like this.

These charitable groups also offer slot machines, and even have over 100 located at a Ramada, which would put them in the top 5 in casinos period. They do call many of these charitable casinos in fact, and there are 24 that are licensed as casinos in the state, with the other locations you can participate at charitable casino gambling simply operating under existing law which allows this.

Sports betting may also be coming to North Dakota, and they are close enough to it that a bill in 2019 passed the state legislature only to be defeated in the state senate. Proponents of sports betting haven’t let up though and another attempt is currently underway to get this done, with a state-wide referendum on the issue expected in 2020.

Once this eventually passes, this is to be given to charitable casinos, where you can go to a motel or other location and place your bets on sporting events. We’re also waiting on online sports betting to be opened up, although the state is concentrating on getting this up and running on land before they worry too much about doing it on the internet.

  • List of Land Based Casinos in North Dakota
    CasinoAddressPhone
    Dakota Magic Casino16849 102nd St SE, Hankinson, ND 58041701-634-3000
    Sky Dancer Casino & Resort3965 Sky Dancer Way NE, Belcourt, ND 58316701-244-2400
    Spirit Lake Casino & Resort7889 ND-57, St Michael, ND 58370701-766-4747
    Prairie Knights Casino & Resort7932 ND-24, Fort Yates, ND 58538800-425-8277
    4 Bears Casino & Lodge202 Frontage Rd, New Town, ND 58763800-294-5454
    Grand Treasure Casino4418 147th Ave NW, Williston, ND 58801701-577-4770
    Nickle's Lounge and Casino800 S 3rd St, Bismarck, ND 58504701-258-7700
    King Pin Casino2630 S University Dr, Fargo, ND 58103701-365-0611
    Blue Wolf Casino3402 Interstate Blvd S, Fargo, ND 58103701-232-2019
    Big Top Bingo901 25th St S, Fargo, ND 58103701-237-9692
    Southgate Casino Bar & Grill2525 S Washington St, Grand Forks, ND 58201701-775-7941
    El Roco1730 13th Ave N Ste 2, Grand Forks, ND 58203701-772-2631
    North Dakota Horse Park5180 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102701-277-8027

North Dakota Online Casinos & Slots Gambling

North Dakota does permit residents to wager on animal races online, but that is the extent of their efforts to regulate online gambling to date. There is a serious interest to expand into the online realm in this state though, as opposed to a lot of states who simply turn their nose up at this at the present time at least.

Real money online gambling is still beyond the horizon in North Dakota right now though, leaving the online gambling market in the state to offshore regulated real money online gambling sites. States will try to pretend that they have some sort of monopoly here, where online gambling in the state comes into existence at their instruction, but the power of the internet allows players in the state to access the best the rest of the world has to offer.

Players merely need to step out of the state through the portal that the internet provides them to the entire world, and among all the things out there beyond North Dakota, there’s plenty of great real money online gambling sites that may be enjoyed by residents.

There are plenty of people who will look upon the gambling laws of a state and see no explicit law addressing online gambling and therefore claim to be uncertain about how it may apply to online gambling, and although laws may be unclear in some circumstances, if the law says you can’t gamble at something period, this includes doing it online or by any means.

Everything that you would want to wager on is covered under the state’s definition of gambling, but the fact that illegal gambling requires wagers per hand or event over $25, if you aren’t crossing this line, it also does not make any difference whether you are making these bets at a real table or a virtual one.

The next question that should come up is how North Dakota is going to tell how much we are betting, and they do not have spies that watch you at an online casino table or playing slots. The answer is that it is simply not possible for them to know, or even to know you are playing online as a matter of fact.

The law becomes not a mandate but instead functions like a request, and while there is the matter of people claiming that obeying laws for their own sake has moral weight, they could just limit their online bets to $25 and still be able to feel perfectly good about doing it.

The online sites that are completely legal where they are located, and where it is completely legal for North Dakotans to play with them, do not care about whatever North Dakota wants, and will leave it up to you how much you wish to bet within the site’s own betting limits, whether you want to stick with state law or ignore it.

It is not that North Dakota is waiting for their players to gain access to real money online gambling, as it is not the players that are waiting, it is the state, waiting to get in on all this action. Online gambling is already fully here.

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Future of Gambling in North Dakota

North Dakota is already the second most open state in the country as far as land-based gambling goes, and just keeps getting more and more all the time. Most of the land-based gambling establishments in the state only offer a little bit of casino gaming each, but this not only adds up to quite a bit overall per capita, this format also serves to maximize the reach of land-based gambling in North Dakota.

The way that this North Dakota does it turns the size and locations of gambling venues over to the gambling market itself. As the demand in the state for gambling changes, the free market will decide these things. This is the ideal as far as reach goes, and if more is needed, more will appear.

North Dakota’s potential for growth lies in their expanding their game selection, and while there is nothing against the law for people to play other games, it is part of the licensure agreements that issue permits to operators. Something may be legal in itself but still requires a license to operate legally, and this is where licensing more types of games would expand the reach of gambling in the state.

With blackjack and slots on board, and sports betting on the way, and as widespread as all of this is rolled out, this is already pretty impressive enough. One of the benefits of going with blackjack is that all you need is a table, a deck of cards, and some casino chips, where some other casino games like roulette and craps are more expensive to set up and run.

A movement toward more game selection would require some of these very small casinos to expand enough to where it would be more practical. This is a possibility, even though the current scheme fits North Dakota so well already.

North Dakota’s online gambling regulatory future remains more up in the air, even though it is floating down to Earth more lately. The state’s seeking to add sports betting to their mix has stimulated the state’s appetite toward gambling overall, as well as allowed proponents to step up and be heard more as the background resistance becomes weakened as more gambling becomes allowed.

The issue here is their seeking to increase their gambling revenues by taxing online gambling by North Dakotans, or standing pat and allowing their people to do it without their getting a cut, as is the case now. More and more states are approaching this matter more practically, going from thinking their resistance to it keeps it from happening to seeing how much of it goes on anyway and becoming more tempted to tax it.

There is a whole new world outside of North Dakota when it comes to real money online gambling, including sports betting, online poker, and the full gamut of online casino games, just waiting for you to come on board. Let us show you around.

North Dakota Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
  • When did legal gambling first come to North Dakota?

    Throughout the history of the state of North Dakota, up until fairly recently, gambling has been against the law completely in this state. It wasn’t until 1975 that they legalized charitable gambling, which ended up being a much bigger deal than these things usually are. This ended up being much bigger than charity bingo, although North Dakota has plenty of that, as it allowed genuine casino gambling to be offered throughout the state.

  • What does the act of gambling in North Dakota consist of?

    To be included in North Dakota’s definition of gambling, one must risk something of value upon the outcome of a contingent event outside one’s control. This includes anything that we would normally consider gambling as well as other activities that are not. This very wide net does trap all of its intended target though, and throws in betting on games that rely on the element of chance to some degree as well as results of gambling devices, even though this is not necessary.

  • Is it against the law to gamble for real money in North Dakota?

    We might think that if a state goes to the trouble to define gambling, and especially when they do so as broadly as North Dakota does, that gambling would be against the law and you wouldn’t be able to bet on all the things included in this definition. It turns out that it is legal to gamble here for real money as long as you don’t wager more than $25 per hand or event. North Dakota only bans gambling that is conducted at stakes they deem to be too high.

  • Why is charitable gambling so huge in North Dakota?

    Charitable gambling typically only has a small share of a state’s overall gambling market, being limited to very small stakes gambling. The first Indian casinos in the country ran afoul of the law by offering bingo games of less modest stakes. The allowance of charitable gambling together with the fact that it is legal to bet up to $25 per hand, where charities could set this up wherever they want, created a huge opportunity for these charitable gaming to expand.

  • Why are there so many non-casino charitable gaming operations in North Dakota?

    There are three elements to a land-based gambling venue to be allowed to operate, which is the legality of offering the gambling, the legality of people partaking in the gambling, and whatever conditions that regulators may seek to impose beyond what the law itself says. North Dakota does regulate 24 charitable casinos, but there’s nothing in the law to stop other charities from offering it without state regulation, and there are a great many of these venues.

  • What gambling games do North Dakota’s charitable gaming operations offer?

    Blackjack is the game of choice at North Dakota’s charitable casinos, and it’s not that they are given a choice. It turns out that among all of the potential casino games that a gambling location could have, blackjack is the easiest to set up and the cheapest to run. Charitable casinos also now can host slots as well, called e-pull tabs, and they will soon offer real money sports betting once a bill finally gets passed.

  • Does North Dakota have any tribal casinos?

    North Dakota’s 5 tribes wasted no time reaching an agreement with the state once federal law was passed in 1988 permitting federally regulated Indian tribes from offering casino gambling on their land in spite of whatever their state may wish. There are currently 7 small Indian casinos in the state, which serve to add to all of the blackjack, slots, and bingo offered at the state’s over 800 charitable gambling locations.

  • What else can you gamble at in North Dakota?

    The North Dakota lottery may not have much of a market share of the state’s gambling economy, but they do offer a full range of lottery games and allow lottery lovers to get their fill. It is not that North Dakotans don’t love to gamble, it is that there are so many other things to gamble on here. This includes betting on live horse racing, off-track betting from out of state, and even making these wagers online with the full permission of the state.

  • Is it legal to gamble online in North Dakota?

    North Dakota’s laws are written in such a way that places the defining characteristic of gambling on risking something of value, which does occur within their jurisdiction regardless of whether the risk is taken by playing a land-based game or online. It’s only ever against the law in this state to wager more than $25 per hand or event though, so it’s only when you exceed these limits that you are breaking the law no matter what you are betting on or with.

  • Does North Dakota have any real money online casino gambling?

    The state of North Dakota has yet to regulate any online gambling themselves, even though they do allow online pari-mutual betting online by its residents that is regulated in other states. This does not mean the state does not have real money online gambling, it’s just that the state itself doesn’t regulate it. We’ll show you the best places for North Dakotans to visit online to get the most of their real money online gambling experiences.

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Lead Writer: Toby is a very experienced online gambler who particularly enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and guiding them toward more enjoyment in their own play.