Online Poker and the Law in Minnesota
Update: March 8, 2020 – Things aren’t looking great for online poker in Minnesota, but there is a glimmer of hope. SportsHandle recently reported that Sen. Roger Chamberlain is doing what he can to try and push through a new sports betting bill. However, The bad news is that the bill already failed last year and he’s facing considerable opposition from other legislators and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA). On the bright side, Chamberlain is doing what he can to try and reach a compromise. As we’ve seen in other states, sports betting is often one of the steps on the way towards legalizing online poker.
Online Poker in Minnesota – What’s the Current Law
We’re here to try and answer when online poker could come to Minnesota. Firstly, let’s look at the current laws the state has in place. The building block of any gambling law is the “bet.” Without a bet, there’s no gambling. This is something the state of Minnesota lines out clearly. Section 609.75(d)(1) of the state statutes defines a “bet” as:
“A bet is a bargain whereby the parties mutually agree to a gain or loss by one to the other of specified money, property or benefit dependent upon chance although the chance is accompanied by some element of skill.”
This is more specific than other states. For example, the definition includes, “accompanied by some element of skill”. Other state laws aren’t as specific. In short, that means poker can be included in this law.
Subsequently, the statute says it’s a misdemeanor to break this law. For instance, you can be found guilty in Minnesota if you:
- Make a bet.
- Sell or transfers a chance to participate in a lottery.
- Disseminate information about a lottery, except a lottery conducted by an adjoining state, with intent to encourage participation therein.
- Permit a structure or location owned or occupied by the actor or under the actor’s control to be used as a gambling place.
- Possess a gambling device, except where authorized by statute.
Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in Minnesota?
Sadly, no. PokerStars was a great site and accepted players from all across the United States, including Minnesota, before 2011. Then Black Friday came and PokerStars was forced to leave the US. As states are regulating online poker, some have allowed PokerStars to start coming back. In the future, PokerStars could return to Minnesota, but to return to its former glory it would need all states to have a share player pool.
That day could be a long time in the future, but there are some sites that accept players from all 50 states now. These sites have great tournament guarantees, large player pools and top-notch software. We’ve reviewed a lot of these sites in detail and Bovada and Ignition Poker have topped our list. For detailed reasons why, check out our full reviews below:
Current Gaming Legislation
There is a sports betting bill struggling to make its way through the state legislature, but there’s still nothing about online poker on the docket. There are conversations going on about online gambling and online poker though, so there’s a chance these talks can turn into legislation sometime in the future. However, it’s not just legislators that online poker advocates have to convince, they also have to get Minnesota’s Indian casinos to get on board with the idea.
Do Indian Casinos in Minnesota Offer Poker?
Yes. You’re almost guaranteed to find poker rooms in the larger Indian casinos. You’ll find Texas Holdem, Omaha and if you’re lucky, there might be a few mixed games going on. The casinos also offer all the casino games you’d expect to find, and they’re fully decked-out resorts too. You’ll find fine dining, nightclubs and a bunch of other attractions.
If you want some more information on poker tournaments and general poker news in the area, check out Minnesota Poker Magazine.
Specific State-by-State Laws
Alabama – Arizona – Arkansas – California – Colorado – Connecticut – Georgia – Idaho – Iowa – Kansas – Maine – Maryland – Massachusetts – Michigan – Mississippi – Montana – Nebraska – New Hampshire – New Mexico – North Carolina – North Dakota – Ohio – Oklahoma – Pennsylvania – Rhode Island – South Carolina – Tennessee – Vermont – West Virginia – Wyoming