North Dakota offers a typical variety of gambling options. There is a state lottery, horseracing, full-service casinos that include all table games and poker, as well as charity games. The charity gaming options include typical raffles and other drawings, as well as blackjack and poker nights in bars.
The only form of online gambling that is explicitly legal in North Dakota is mobile horse racing betting. However, daily fantasy sports sites are also available in the state.
Overall, most forms of gaming may be found in North Dakota in some form or another. These include:
- Casinos: Live, located on reservations
- Poker: Live, only at licensed tribal casinos or low limit charity poker nights
- Daily fantasy sports: Online DFS sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel
- Table games: Live, only on licensed reservations, except charity blackjack
- Slots and video poker: Live, only at licensed tribal casinos
- Horseracing: Live, off-track and mobile betting
- Lottery: Lotto drawings only, no scratch-offs
- Charitable gaming: Includes tavern blackjack, off-track betting, raffles, poker and bingo
Online gambling in North Dakota
The only form of online gambling that is legal in North Dakota is mobile horseracing. Wagers may be placed on races outside of the state and accounts may be created on mobile devices at licensed horse racing betting sites.
Two major horse racing sites that operate in North Dakota:
Daily fantasy sports are considered a game of skill in North Dakota. All major operators accept players from North Dakota.
Recommended DFS sites:
Land-based casinos in North Dakota
Brick-and-mortar casinos came to North Dakota beginning in 1992 as the state reached gaming compacts with various tribal groups.
Tribal casinos are regulated in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Five tribal casinos were approved in the first round of compact negotiations and at one point, there were ten casinos operating in North Dakota. That number has fallen to five today.
Most games found in major casino markets are legal in North Dakota. However, there is a bet limit for most tables. Blackjack has a $250 bet limit. Craps, roulette and other tables have a $60 max bet. Craps tables may not offer odds higher than two times the original bet. The maximum bet in poker is $50. There may be no more than one bet and three raises per round.
Slots and video poker also have special rules. The maximum bet is $25. Slots must return at least 80 percent. Video poker must return at least 83 percent. No game may return more than 100 percent.
North Dakota casinos
|4 Bears Casino & Lodge
202 Frontage Rd
|Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel
16849 102nd St SE
|Sky Dancer Casino & Resort
3965 Sky Dancer Way NE
|Prairie Knights Casino & Resort
7932 Hwy 24
|Spirit Lake Casino & Resort
7889 Hwy 57
Sports Betting in North Dakota
Sports betting is not currently legal in any form in North Dakota.
There were two attempts to change this in 2019. HB 1254 and HB 1295 would have permitted charitable organizations to offer sports betting. This would have also allowed sports betting at the state’s six tribal casinos through the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. HB 1254 lost by a vote of 38-7 in the state house. HB 1295 never made it out of committee.
In the meantime, charities may hold one sports pool per year. Daily fantasy sports companies may also operate in the state.
Poker in North Dakota
Live poker is legal in two forms. Charities may hold up to two poker nights per year. For cash games, the maximum bet is $1 per round with no more than three raises. The house may not charge more than $2 per half hour as a time charge. Tournaments are permitted and do not fall under the $1 maximum bet. The house may not disburse more than 90 percent of the prize pool.
The state’s tribal casinos may offer full-service poker rooms. The maximum cash game bet is $50 to start the betting. No more than three raises of no more than $50 are permitted per round. The bet limit does not apply to poker tournaments.
There are three live poker rooms in North Dakota. Each is small. None are open daily.
North Dakota lawmakers attempted to pass an online poker bill in 2005. The goal was to make North Dakota the home for online poker in the United States. That push was met with resistance by the US Department of Justice. The effort failed due to this federal intervention.
North Dakota poker rooms
There are three live poker rooms in North Dakota. Each offers tournaments in the $20 to $30 range on open days. All close at least one day per week. The most common games are Texas Hold’em and mixed games. The typical cash game limits are fixed $5/$10 or spread $5 to $25.
- 4 Bears Casino and Lodge: Six tables – No limit Hold’em tournaments and Texas Hold’em and mixed cash games – 202 Frontage Rd, New Town, ND 58763
- Spirit Lake Casino and Resort: Six tables – No limit Hold’em tournaments and mixed cash games, only open weekends – 7889 North Dakota 57, St. Michael, ND 58370
- Sky Dancer Casino and Resort: Five tables – No limit Hold’em tournaments, fixed limit Hold’em and mixed cash games – 3965 Sky Dancer Way NE, Belcourt, ND 58316
Home poker games
Home poker games in North Dakota are legal if the house does not take a rake. Charities may hold up to two poker nights at taverns or community centers each year. This may include cash games with betting no higher than $1 or tournaments with any buy-in.
Fantasy sports in North Dakota
Fantasy sports operate in a legal grey area in North Dakota. The state has never passed legislation that covers the activity. The state’s attorney general has never opined on it. It is assumed that the games are legal. All major fantasy sports operators accept North Dakota players.
North Dakota Lottery
Voters approved a lottery in North Dakota in 2002. These games are unique in North Dakota. The ND Lottery does not operate any drawings or scratch-off tickets. It joins interstate lotto networks. The current games are:
- Lucky for Life
- Mega Millions
- Lotto America
Games of Skill
North Dakota defines gambling as risking money or something else of value on something that ‘wholly or partially’ depends on ‘chance’. This outlaws most activities that are not legalized in other parts of the law, such as lotteries, tribal casinos and charity gaming. Participants may wager each other on games of pure skill under the law. However, anything that uses cards or dice likely falls under a game of chance under the state’s definition, therefor is only permitted at licensed establishments.
No laws in North Dakota specifically address eSports. One can assume that the more a game is closer to skill and not luck, the more likely wagering on it, especially between private parties, is legal.
Traditional Online Skill Games
North Dakota law does not address internet skill games. Presumably, this makes it legal. Sites like WorldWinner and WPT Online accept North Dakota players.
Skill-Based Gaming Machines
North Dakota tribal casinos do not currently offer skill-based machines.
North Dakota Gaming Laws
The first form of legalized gambling in North Dakota was for charities. That law passed in 1976. Since then, horse racing was added in 1987, tribal casinos in 1992, and a state lottery in 2002. The links below cover the agencies that oversee or operate these activities.
North Dakota Lottery Law
North Dakota is one of just three states that have lotteries but does not sell scratch-off tickets. Due to its small population, and cost of creating games in the home state, the lottery simply joined existing interstate lotto drawings. North Dakota permits lottery winners to remain anonymous.
Tribal Casino Law
After repeated attempts to legalize slots, video poker and table games for commercial casinos were defeated by voters, the governor entered into gaming pacts with five tribes in 1992. This allowed for low limit gaming on reservations. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act permitted this.
There are bet limits, depending on the game. Blackjack has a $250 maximum bet. Other table games, including craps and roulette, have a $60 max. Live poker has a $50 max bet with no more than three raises per round. This does not cover tournaments, which have no cap. Slot machines and video poker may not accept wagers higher than $25.
Craps games can only offer double odds. Slots must return at least 80 percent, while video poker must return 83 percent.
Charitable Gaming Law
North Dakota voters approved Referred Amendment 4 in a landslide in 1976. That constitutional amendment created charitable gaming. This allowed charities to offer raffles, bingo and blackjack. Sports pools and off-track betting were later added to the mix.
The maximum bet for charitable table gaming is $25. Blackjack must have a minimum bet no higher than $3. Charities may have up to two poker nights per year. The maximum bet in a cash game is $1 with no more than three raises per round. Tournaments do not have a cap but can only return up to 90 percent of the prize pool to participants.
Online Gambling Laws
There are no laws in North Dakota that address online gambling. Unlicensed gambling, whether it is live or offline, is illegal. The only form of online gaming that is approved is off-track betting. Daily fantasy sports appear to be considered a skill game in North Dakota as no action has ever been taken towards the activity.
North Dakota Poker Law
North Dakota’s tribal casinos may offer poker. The maximum bet per round in a cash game is $50 with no more than three raises per round. There is no cap on tournament buy-ins. However, the highest poker tournament buy-in at any of the legal venues is currently $120. Charities may have poker nights, as described in the previous section.
Sports Betting Law
North Dakota does not seem to have a big appetite for legal sports betting. Two measures to approve limited forms of sports betting were soundly defeated in 2019 and lawmakers have had trouble gaining any momentum since.
Racing Betting Laws
Horse racing got its start in North Dakota in 1976. At its peak, there were four tracks in the state. Today, there is only one. Off-track betting is legal at tracks, at registered charities and through mobile sites like TVG and TwinSpires.