Minnesota State

Made famous as the homeland of Rose Nylund from the hit 80s TV series, The Golden Girls, Minnesota is one of the northernmost states of the US, and is bordered by North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Canada. A little known fact is that the name Minnesota comes from the Dakota word for the Minnesota River, and loosely translates as ‘clear blue water’. The state also shares a water border with Michigan, and its proximity to water means that it boasts a wide variety of water-related hobbies and activities, like fishing, water-skiing and boating. Even in the freezing cold winters, activities like ice-fishing, skating and hockey abound. Minnesota’s living standards are considered some of the highest in the US, and the state is also considered one of the wealthiest and best-educated in the nation. Being so outdoorsy, what options do the residents of Minnesota have available to them when it comes to gambling? Is it legal? Are there casinos where they can get their game on? Or, is it safer to learn how to play on Facebook casinos or make use of Fun Play casinos, which often boast free and fun online slots? Let’s take a closer look.

Minnesota Gambling Licences

It should come as no surprise that different states across US territory often have very different statutes in place regarding a number of matters, gambling included. The ever-popular ‘charity gambling’ games like bingo and raffles were made legal back in 1945, and now make up a billion-dollar industry in this northern state. Of course, every establishment offering these games needs to be licensed, with the stakes and prizes kept low, with profits going towards enterprises like health and education. The scope of these games has grown over the years to encompass pull-tab games and even more recently, electronic versions.

Several tribes sharing the land in Minnesota saw a number of high-stakes bingo parlours being established back in the early 80s, which have since expanded to include video gaming, blackjack and non-banked card games like poker, as well. Outside of the tribes, there are no land-based casinos, though – regulation and licensing for these was regularly shot down by the senate. Of course, video games and non-banked table games (i.e.: poker rooms) at racetracks are allowed, and as of 2014 there have been no plans or active bills hoping to change this. Horse racing is legal in Minnesota, even though pari-mutuel betting was only introduced much later than other states in the US, and the state lottery is very popular.

Social games are explicitly excluded from the laws surrounding gambling in Minnesota, and it’s generally understood that if prizes are kept to under $200, and no profit is incurred from hosting the game/s, then residents are free to enjoy social games in private, and this includes Texas Hold’em.

Now, while many states find something of a loophole in terms of gambling, it’s generally understood in Minnesota that, unless something is explicitly declared legal – it isn’t legal. Let’s break it down further below.

Gambling in Minnesota

As previously stipulated, there are some forms of gambling that are perfectly acceptable, so long as they take place within the tribal casino spaces, or don’t result in significant profits for the organiser or attendees. Online gambling is one area that is not explicitly prohibited, but locals may prefer to stay on the safe side of the law and rather play on social casino apps and fun play casinos, where no real money is used or won.

Land-based and Online Casinos

As previously stipulated, Minnesota is home to a number of tribal casinos, which offer video lottery-type games, slots machines and table games like blackjack. The closest thing to an online casino one can hope for in this state would be the remote electronic pull-tab games within various locations – like the racetracks. While not the same as online gambling – as you may have come to know it – it does set something of a precedent. With online casinos not being declared legal outright, many people in the state choose to download and play at mobile social casinos, or learn how to play on Facebook casinos. It has been speculated, however, that there is a generally progressive stance towards the regulation of online poker games in the state, but this remains to be seen.

Sports Betting

Pari-mutuel betting is a big business in Minnesota, and includes simulcast betting on horse races in other states. It is also at the race tracks where people are able to wager on non-banked table games like blackjack, as well as video games.

Bingo and Lottery

Including multi-state games, the lottery has been very popular in Minnesota from as far back as 1972, and there is a huge tradition of charitable gaming in the state, including bingo, keno, raffle games and even poker and casino nights.


While Minnesota has a way to go before it could be considered ‘progressive’ in terms of gambling, whether online or at land-based establishments, it certainly isn’t the most conservative of the lot, and has long enjoyed a healthy tradition of lottery and bingo-style games. Even other forms of gambling are allowed, as long as the stakes and prizes are kept to a minimum. While we can’t anticipate any major alterations to the statutes, residents of this beautiful state can still enjoy a host of gaming options, including horse racing and land-based casinos.

Those who really do prefer to get their game on in the online realm would do well to err on the side of caution and opt for fun play casinos and free play online casinos – at least then, they remain above the law, owing to the fact that no real money is exchanged or profited.