Minnesota’s gambling landscape is defined by several tribal casinos, a small pari-mutuel industry, a state lottery, and an odd collection of games uniquely popular to the state. It’s the Land of 10,000 Lakes — but not nearly as many gambling choices.
But what the state lacks in gambling options, it makes up in unique charitable games like paddlewheels and tipboards. These games have evolved from old-fashioned paper games into something resembling a slot machine. The state also is home to 19 tribal casinos, some of which rival those you might find in Las Vegas.
Efforts to allow online casinos in Minnesota, sports betting sites, and even daily fantasy sports, meanwhile, have frozen solid. The state as a whole leans heavily toward no online gambling at this time. However, this page will keep you updated on when and if online gambling moves forward in Minnesota.
Play online slots or casino games in Minnesota
Can you gamble online in Minnesota?
No. In the truest sense of the term, there is no legal online gambling in Minnesota. Online casinos and online poker sites do not exist legally in the state. That doesn’t mean there are no online options at all. You can find horse betting sites in Minnesota, for example. Meanwhile, daily fantasy sports sites continue to operate in the state. Minnesota attempted unsuccessfully to regulate DFS in 2017, but companies like DraftKings and FanDuel serve customers in Minnesota nonetheless. In addition, sweepstakes casinos and social casinos remain an option for those who want to play online casino games in the state.
Are online casinos legal in Minnesota?
No, real money online casinos are not legal in Minnesota. The casino apps available in nearby Michigan cannot be found in Minnesota at this time. Still, Minnesotans have several solid options for sweepstakes and social casino gaming in the state. Popular social casinos in Minnesota include Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. Top sweepstakes casino is Funzpoints. These sites are very similar to traditional online casinos in play and experience but use a sweepstakes or social casino model and a dual-currency system.
For a more simple form of online casino gaming, Minnesotans can play on social casino apps. The best ones are directly tied to in-state casinos. Five casinos all have direct links to Double Down Casino, for example — one of the largest providers of social casino gaming.
- Grand Casino Hinckley
- Grand Casino Mille Lacs
- Seven Clans Red Lake
- Seven Clans Thief River Falls
- Seven Clans Warroad
A sixth casino, Treasure Island Resort & Casino, offers visitors a self-branded social site. These offerings are typically a risk-free way for casinos and potential players to find one another. They allow players to experiment with the slots at a property without risking any money.
Can you play online poker in Minnesota?
No, there are no legal online poker rooms in Minnesota. While there is no law addressing online poker in Minnesota, it is not technically legal. Sites like PokerStars do not offer play to visitors and residents of Minnesota. The one legal option Minnesota players have is Global Poker. This sweepstakes poker site is related to Chumba and LuckyLand and offers prizes through the same dual-currency system. Tournaments, sit-n-go’s and unique games like Crazy Pineapple are available at Global Poker.
Will Minnesota regulate online gambling in the future?
The chances for legal online gambling in Minnesota do not appear good due to the state’s history. Attempts to sell lottery tickets online, for example, generated significant pushback before the activity became available in 2013. In 2015, when the response was underwhelming, the state suspended online sales and has not resumed them. It would appear Minnesotans are ambivalent toward online gambling and online casino gaming, which keeps energy for it among politicians at a low ebb.
Legal online gambling sites in Minnesota
To be clear, there is no legal online gambling in Minnesota. If and when Minnesota does legalize online casinos, the sites will be clearly noted as legal in the state and likely will include the state gaming commission seal somewhere on the app or website. Any site saying otherwise is wrong or being dishonest. Unless it’s a sweepstake site like the ones mentioned above, the online casinos accepting Minnesota players are based offshore. Minnesota, for its part, is very clear on the consequences of playing on one of these offshore gambling sites:
“Online sports betting and online casinos that take your money and offer prizes via the web are illegal in Minnesota. There are websites available that operate outside of the United States to purposefully avoid laws and enforcement. Not only is it a crime to participate, there are consumer protection concerns as well. When you send money, you are giving your personal financial and banking information to unknown persons that are not licensed or regulated in handling it. If you do win, there is no recourse if they do not pay you.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. You don’t know who owns, who runs, or who regulates — if anyone — these sites. And you have no idea if your money is ever coming back or who might get a look at the personal information that you provide when setting up an account. In short, don’t take the risk. Play on a sweepstakes casino site instead.
Who regulates gambling in Minnesota?
The Minnesota Gambling Control Board oversees the legal charitable gambling industry in the state, which includes bingo, paddlewheels, pull-tabs, and raffles. Lawful gambling is conducted only by registered nonprofit organizations. Tribal casinos are regulated by the individual tribal gaming authorities. The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association is the outreach and educational arm of the 11 federally recognized tribes in the state.
What is the legal gambling age in Minnesota?
The minimum age to gamble legally in Minnesota is 18. It’s unclear if this would change, however, if Minnesota ever legalizes online gambling. Most legal states require online gambling customers to be 21 years of age or older.
Responsible gambling in Minnesota
Those who believe they have a problem controlling their gambling have many avenues for help in Minnesota. A recent study showed that 56,000 Minnesotans struggle with gambling and another 150,000 are at risk. If you believe you are one of them, call 800-333-HOPE for “free, confidential information and referral to services in your area,” according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Additionally, a few tribal casinos in the state offer their own self-exclusion programs. In fact, each tribe operates its own gaming authority and problem gambling programs, according to the American Gaming Association. But the tribes are not required to offer a self-exclusion program as stated in the compacts with the state, and not all tribal casinos offer such programs. Mystic Lake and Little Six casino properties have a self-exclusion policy “for guests who no longer wish to have access to casino privileges.” Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch offers guests a Self-Limit Access Program that allows them to cancel access to the casino and all marketing materials.
Types of legal gambling in Minnesota
Despite being fairly limited in its gambling options, there are ways to legally place a bet and play slot games in Minnesota. You just have to know where to look. As noted earlier, Minnesota allows a unique set of games of chance like paddlewheels, which we will explain in more detail below. Ultimately, the state offers the following legal gambling options:
- Tribal casinos, which include slots and tables games as well as poker at most of the 19 facilities.
- Minnesota state lottery, including scratch games, interstate lotto draw games, and raffles.
- Pari-mutuel betting, such as at Canterbury Downs thoroughbred horse racing track and Running Aces harness racing.
- Charitable gaming, such as bingo, raffles, paddlewheels, tipboards, and pull-tabs.
Charitable gaming in Minnesota
Lawful charitable gaming is governed by the MGCB and can only be provided by registered nonprofit organizations in the state. Those organizations are limited to fraternal, religious, veteran, and other nonprofits that are officially registered in the state. But the games aren’t limited to bingo and raffles. Paddlewheels and tipboards are somewhat unique and popular in the state, so we think it fair to provide a bit more information about the two.
Paddlewheels: According to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, “A paddlewheel is a vertical wheel marked off in sections with one or more numbers. When spun, the pointer indicates the winning number. A paddlewheel may be an electronic device that simulates a mechanical paddlewheel.” These types of wheels, generally with 30 numbers, resemble the ones you’ve seen at carnivals or bake sales. They are also used in so-called “meat raffles,” which is so weird and Midwestern all at the same time. Minnesota considers meat raffles gambling, too, even if the prizes are edible. In paddlewheel, players can either track the number they’re betting on via a card or on a table. The table version resembles roulette. These games can be found in various bars and taverns that obtain a license.
Tipboards: These are basically raffles. Think of the squares game you play during the Super Bowl where you buy a square and then numbers are assigned to them later to correlate with the score at the end of quarters. According to Minnesota Charitable Gambling, “You will often see tipboards played in bars during special events or seasons, with the grand prize being a certain piece of merchandise (like a rifle or shotgun during hunting season).” These games are most often played at charitable events given that the prize is an item.
Are there casinos in Minnesota?
Yes, there are 19 tribal casinos in Minnesota, but no commercially owned casinos like those you might find in Las Vegas or Detroit. Minnesota racetracks, however, operate as racetracks/cardrooms. Both the Canterbury Park and Running Aces tracks offer poker and blackjack among other table games.
Tribal casinos in Minnesota
Eleven Native American tribes run the 19 tribal casinos in the state. Some of the facilities are quite small, though, with only a few hundred slot machines and a smattering of table games. Others are as large as any Las Vegas Strip casino. Two of them (Mystic Lake and Treasure Island) offer more than 100,000 square feet of gambling space.
Of the 11 tribes, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and the White Earth Nation lead the way in terms of properties. Each tribe manages three locations. White Earth Nation also owns a slew of other properties. Fortunately, these properties are spread throughout the state, cutting down on the chances of cannibalizing player bases. Below are all the casinos in the state and where to find them.
|Casino||Tribal Operator||Address||Phone||Live Poker|
|Black Bear Casino Resort||Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa||1785 Highway 210, Carlton, MN 55718||1-888-771-0777||Y|
|Cedar Lakes Casino Hotel||Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe||6268 Upper Cass Frontage Road NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633||844-LL-GAMING||Y|
|Fond-du-Luth Casino||Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa||129 E. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802||800-873-0280||N|
|Fortune Bay Resort Casino||Bois Forte Band of Chippewa||1430 Bois Forte Road, Tower, MN 55790||800-992-7529||Y|
|Grand Casino Hinckley||Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe||777 Lady Luck Drive, Hinckley, MN 55037||800-472-6321||Y|
|Grand Casino Mille Lacs||Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe||777 Grand Ave., Onamia, MN 56359||800-626-5825||Y|
|Grand Portage Lodge and Casino||Grand Portage Band of Chippewa||70 Casino Drive, Grand Portage, MN 55605||800-543-1384||N|
|Jackpot Junction Casino||Upper Sioux Community||39375 County Highway 24, Morton, MN 56270||507-697-8000||Y|
|Little Six Casino||Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community||2450 Sioux Trail NW, Prior Lake MN 55372||952-403-5525||N|
|Mystic Lake Casino Hotel||Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community||2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN 55372||800-262-7799||Y|
|Northern Lights Casino Hotel and Event Center||Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe||6800 Y Frontage Road NW, Walker, MN 56484||844-LL-GAMING||Y|
|Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort||Upper Sioux Community||5616 Prairie’s Edge Lane, Granite Falls, MN 56241||320-564-2121||Y|
|Seven Clans Casino Red Lake||Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians||10200 Highway 89, Red Lake, MN 56671||888-679-2501||N|
|Seven Clans Casino Thief River Falls||Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians||20595 Center St. East, Thief River Falls, MN 56701||800-881-0712||N|
|Seven Clans Casino Warroad||Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians||34966 605th Ave., Warroad MN 56763||800-815-8293||Y|
|Shooting Star Casino Bagley||White Earth Nation||13325 340th St., Bagley, MN 56621||800-453-7827||Y|
|Shooting Star Casino Mahnomen||White Earth Nation||777 Casino Road, Mahnomen, MN 56557||800-453-7827||Y|
|Treasure Island Resort & Casino||Prairie Island Indian Community||5734 Sturgeon Lake Road, Welch, MN 55089||800-222-7077||Y|
|White Oak Casino||Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe||45830 US Highway 2, Deer River, MN 56636||844-LL-GAMING||N|
Horse racing in Minnesota
Voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in 1982. Canterbury Downs, the first pari-mutuel racetrack in Minnesota, opened in 1985. The facility briefly closed, but then reopened, in the 1990s. It wasn’t until 2008 that the harness track Running Aces joined it in the state.
Later statewide expansion of legal gambling, including the MN lottery and growth of tribal casinos, led to declines in attendance and handle at the racetracks, which drew calls from the horse industry for off-track betting. The state passed a law allowing it in 1991, but it was deemed unconstitutional and also quashed by a voter referendum.
Both racetracks were the beneficiaries of legislative action in 1999. It was determined that any racetrack which hosted racing for a full year would be eligible to establish “unbanked” card games. This meant poker was coming to the racetracks (albeit under specific betting limitations and room size limitations). Still, this introduction of a secondary option for players at the racetracks influenced the purses. It also established the tracks as premier destinations for breeders of excellent horses.
Minnesota racetracks now operate as cardrooms with a variety of table games and poker rooms. Neither facility has slot machines so, in truth, they operate purely as a sort of cardroom racetrack and not a traditional racino.
- Owner/Operator: Canterbury Park Holding Corporation
- Address: 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN 55379
- Contact: 952-445-7223
- Horse racing: Thoroughbred
Canterbury Park features an assortment of table games and poker. The table games include blackjack, free bet blackjack, EZ-baccarat, Face-Up Pai Gow Poker, Criss Cross Poker, Blazing 7s Blackjack, Mississippi Stud, Three-Card poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, and I LUV Suits. The card room also features Texas Hold ’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven-Card Stud, and other poker mixed games. The poker room has 14 tables and is open 24 hours a day.
Running Aces Casino & Racetrack
- Owner/Operator: North Metro Harness Initiative
- Address: 15201 Running Aces Blvd., Columbus, MN 55025
- Contact: 651-925-4600
- Horse racing: Harness
Running Aces has a full complement of poker including Omaha, Texas Hold ’em, and stud. There are numerous promotional offers available, including late-night $50/hand games. Table games include blackjack, $1 blackjack, free bet blackjack, pai gow, EZ Baccarat, Mississippi Stud, 3-Card Poker, 4-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Aces Live 5-Card Draw Poker.
Is horse betting legal in Minnesota?
Yes. Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in Minnesota. Players can make bets in person at Canterbury Park (thoroughbreds) or Running Aces Casino & Racetrack (harness) or go online. Online horse betting is legal in Minnesota with sites like TVG active in the state.
History of gambling in Minnesota
Minnesota’s experience with gambling is largely tied to the state’s history with Native American tribes. Tribes native to Minnesota have negotiated one of the most beneficial compacts with any US state. To this day, they have a strong position within the state and carry the bulk of gambling allowed in the state.
Minnesota was the first state to negotiate a compact under the Indian Gambling Regulatory Act of 1988. Incredibly, it did not negotiate any tax contribution from the tribes’ gambling activities. Furthermore, the state cannot renegotiate the deal without approval from the tribes (which they’ll likely never give). So, Minnesota is both terrific and terrible for gambling. There are plenty of tribal casinos, to be sure, but it appears unlikely there will ever be any other kind of online casinos in the state.
Everything gambling-related in Minnesota seemed to happen at the same time. The 1980s brought pari-mutuel betting (1983), tribal gaming (1988), and the state lottery (1989) into legal existence. These advancements led to the relatively bright situation in Minnesota. There are 19 casinos, two racetrack/cardrooms, and a multitude of games offered under the Minnesota state lottery program.
Additionally, while legal sports betting has spread to many areas of the US — and to many of Minnesota’s neighboring states — betting on sports in Minnesota is still illegal.