Online Poker and Gambling Laws in North Dakota

Last updated: May 23, 2020Online poker legislation seems pretty slim in North Dakota for now. A good barometer for poker legislation is online sports betting. North Dakota’s legislature did have two sports betting bills in 2019, but shot them both down. The opposition came from different sources too. 

The bill was fairly limited too. It would’ve only allowed charitable organizations to offer sports betting. Despite that, the North Dakota Universities opposed the legislation. I failed to pass. Another bill limited sports betting to just professional sports. That was knocked down in the House though. This doesn’t bode well for online poker in North Dakota. On top of that, states that take up online poker legislation sometimes face pushback from tribal casinos. North Dakota has several tribal casinos and this could hamper online poker legislation too. We’ll keep you updated if that changes.

Grand Forks North Dakota Poker

Grand Forks, North Dakota (Photo by Jason Rojas on Unsplash)

Online Poker and Gambling Laws in North Dakota

North Dakota is pretty strict on their laws when it comes to gambling. Although, it does offer several forms of legal gambling. For example, state statutes cover everything when it comes to gambling in North Dakota. The first thing you need to do to build gambling laws is define gambling. Statute 12.1-28-01 states:

“Gambling means risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain, contingent, wholly or partially, upon lot, chance, the operation of gambling apparatus, or the happening or outcome of an event, including an election or sporting event, over which the person taking the risk has no control.”

Like most states, this definition relies on the word “chance.” It does specify varying degrees of chance by saying “wholly or partially.” That’s important when it comes to poker. A federal judge ruled poker to be a game of skill, but it does have some element of chance. North Dakota’s state statute would definitely encompass online poker. The state did try to take up poker legislation in 2005. The bill passed House but got shut down in the Senate.

Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in North Dakota?

No. You can’t play online poker on PokerStars in North Dakota. PokerStars left the country after Black Friday in 2011. PokerStars paid a big fine, paid back its US players. It even bought Full Tilt and paid back their players. Now PokerStars is slowly making its way back in the US. For now, it’s only in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

But if you’re looking for an online poker fix in North Dakota, there are a few PokerStars alternatives available. We’ve found that sites like Ignition Poker and Intertops Poker offer lots of the same features that people loved about PokerStars. If you want to see full reviews for those sites and others that accept players from all 50 states, including North Dakota, check out our reviews below:

Bovada.lv

$500 Bonus

Rating: 4.9/5

Min Deposit $20

Rating: 4.9/5

$500 Bonus - Rating: 4.9/5
Ignition

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 4.7/5

Min Deposit $20

Rating: 4.7/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 4.7/5
BetOnline

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 4.5/5

Min Deposit $25

Rating: 4.5/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 4.5/5
SportsBetting.ag

$2500 Bonus

Rating: 4.2/5

Min Deposit $20

Rating: 4.2/5

$2500 Bonus - Rating: 4.2/5
America's Cardroom

$2000 Bonus

Rating: 4.1/5

Min Deposit $25

Rating: 4.1/5

$2000 Bonus - Rating: 4.1/5
Black Chip Poker

$1000 Bonus

Rating: 4.0/5

Min Deposit $25

Rating: 4.0/5

$1000 Bonus - Rating: 4.0/5
Intertops

$1000 Bonus

Rating: 3.8/5

Min Deposit $25

Rating: 3.8/5

$1000 Bonus - Rating: 3.8/5

Legal Gambling in North Dakota 

There are four types of gambling in North Dakota. The state has charitable gaming, pari-mutuel betting, Indian casinos and a state lottery. The state lottery is fairly new. It only started back in 2004. Charitable gaming is regulated by the state’s Gaming Division. It enforces and administers charitable gaming. Their responsibilities include:

  • Training
  • Audits and investigations of gaming organizations
  • Gaming tax returns
  • Issue administrative complaints
  • Conduct criminal history record checks of gaming employees and Indian casino employees
  • Ensure compliance with tribal-state casino gaming compacts.

There are four Native American Tribes in North Dakota. They own the five main Indian Casinos in the state. The Spirit Lake Tribe which owns the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who owns the Prairie Knights Casino and Resort. The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation owns the 4 Bears Casino and Lodge. Finally, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians who own the Painted Pony Casino and Sky Dancer Hotel and Casino. These casinos offer table games, slots and poker. 

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