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North Dakota Gambling Laws

North DakotaNorth Dakota is not the most poker friendly state in the United States, but they aren’t the least unfriendly either. Legal poker games can be found throughout the state. It is permitted in the casinos in the state. Poker tournaments for charity are also legal in the state of North Dakota. Home poker games can be played in North Dakota, but there are strict regulations on this games. You can’t bet more than $25 in a social poker games, and no one can take a rake.

Can Players From North Dakota Play Poker Online?

Yes! If you live in North Dakota, and you would like to play online poker then you will have no problems finding an online poker site to play at. In fact, all online poker sites that accept players from the United States on our homepage here at USA Friendly Poker Sites also accept players from North Dakota.

It is very easy to start playing poker online. All you need to do is sign up for an account and make a deposit. You can be playing poker in a matter of minutes. We promote the most reputable online poker sites that accept players from North Dakota.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in North Dakota?

Unfortunately, North Dakota has made no move to legalize or to make online poker illegal in their state. Therefore, we can’t answer the question regarding legality of online poker in North Dakota. We have reviewed the laws pertaining to gambling in North Dakota. Below you will find some laws that may pertain to online gambling in North Dakota, but they do not actually mention playing poker online.

  • North Dakota defines gambling as Risking something of value for gain, contingent, wholly or partially, upon lot, chance, operation of gambling apparatus, or happening or outcome of an event, including elections or sporting events, over which person taking risk has no control. (Section 12.1-28)
  • North Dakota continues further to define a gambling apparatus as Gambling apparatus means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons, or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine. (Section 12.1-28) [1]
  • The definition of a gambling apparatus could include computers or mobile devices used to play poker online.
  • There is no fine or charge for persons participating in a game where the stake $25 or less.
  • The laws seem to be more focused on the operators of illegal games than the players of the game.
  • Charitable Casino Nights including poker games are legal in North Dakota with proper licensing.
  • We have found no instances where any person has been charged with any kind of crime for playing poker online in North Dakota.

We encourage you to contact a lawyer if you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in North Dakota. We are not experts on North Dakota laws.

North Dakota Gambling History

North Dakota has a long history of gambling. The state seems to accept charity gambling, but they are not eager to accept other forms of gambling. The history of charitable gambling in North Dakota dates all the way back to the late 1800s. Gambling for charities was common around the state. It was illegal, but most authorities chose to look the other way because it was for a good cause.

This went on for over 80 years. Then in the 1970s the illegal gambling operations began advertising heavily. This drew a lot of attention to their existence, and the attorney general decided that he had to make a stand. He ordered that the law be enforced and the illegal gambling operations were shut down.

This did not sit well with the residents of North Dakota. The money made from these illegal gambling operations was for a good cause. The attorney general explained that they would need to change the constitution in order to allow the gambling because the constitution banned all gambling. In 1976, legislation was approved legalizing bingo for nonprofit organizations.

The citizens of North Dakota continued to fight for more legislation to legalize other forms of gambling for charities. They succeeded and in 1981 charity blackjack and poker games were legalized. There are strict guidelines that come with these games. The bets are limited to $5 per hand, and the operators of the nonprofit organizations have to obtain licenses in order to be legal. [2]

Following the legalization of charity casino games, the Indian Tribes in North Dakota demanded that they be able to open casinos. Since so much gambling was already being permitted in North Dakota the state really didn’t have any recourse to disallow them. Compacts were signed between the state and Indian Tribes to allow casinos. We found a total of 5 Tribal Casinos and 5 charitable casinos operating in the state of North Dakota. [3]

In 2004, the voters of North Dakota approved a state lottery. The lottery has ticket drawing as well as instant scratch tickets. North Dakota also legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse races. This betting is legal for both live and simulcast races.

Legalized Gambling Options in North Dakota

North Dakota has had a rich gambling history as far back as the history books go. However, the early days of gambling in North Dakota were illegal. It took the attorney general cracking down on illegal gambling to prompt the residents of North Dakota to petition the government to legalize some forms of gambling. Charitable gambling plays a huge role in many nonprofit organizations in North Dakota. Charitable bingo, blackjack, and poker are legal in North Dakota.

Other legal forms of gambling in North Dakota include pari-mutuel betting on horse races, Tribal Casinos, Charity Casinos, and a state lottery.

Will North Dakota Legalize Online Gambling in the Future?

North Dakota actually tried to move forward with legislation to legalize online poker in 2005. However, at that time it was considered illegal so the state did not move forward. In 2011, the federal government ruled that the Wire Act did not apply to internet games. Therefore, the legality of gambling online falls back to the states. It is unclear whether or not North Dakota will try to legalize online poker in the near future. If the federal government legalizes online poker then it is likely that North Dakota will enact the legislation to legalize it in their state.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ North Dakota Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ North Dakota Gambling History
  3. Jump up ^ Casinos in North Dakota
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