North Dakota Poker Laws & Bills
Known primarily for its natural beauty and frontier landscape, North Dakota is home to quite a few online poker players. That popularity results from one key feature online poker offers to players in North Dakota: access.
Hopping online to play real-money poker is a cinch. If you’ve gotten stuck in the process because of some unanswered questions or a general uncertainty about how and where to play, you’ll find all the answers you need in this North Dakota Online Poker Player’s Guide.
You can play online poker in North Dakota. But, it is important to note that it is not yet legalized within the state. While online poker may be accessible to players in North Dakota, it’s essential to understand that it operates in a legal gray area, however, residents can still play at offshore poker rooms.
Playing Online Poker in North Dakota
You’re in North Dakota. You want to play some online poker. Googling “online poker North Dakota” just brings up a bunch of out-of-date sites listing rooms that don’t even take players from the US, let alone poker players from North Dakota. No worries. Our list of the best sites for North Dakota online poker is current, accurate, and based on the first-hand experience of real online poker players.
Top Sites for Online Poker in Your State
Playing Real-Money Poker Online From North Dakota
No problems here. North Dakotans are welcome at all of the sites on our list above (which are the poker sites we suggest to players from North Dakota) along with dozens of other sites. You may hear of poker players from Kentucky or Maryland running into trouble when trying to create an online poker account. None of those difficulties exist for poker players from North Dakota who want to play real-money games online.
North Dakota Gambling & Poker Laws
|State Code Section(s)||CC12.1.28; CC53.06; CC53.12; A99.01.3|
|Definition of Gambling||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. Gambling does not include lawful contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or to the owners of entries.|
|Definition of Gambling Apparatus||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.|
|Online Poker/Gambling||North Dakota lawmakers and casinos seem to have little interested in regulated online poker or gambling, as no bill has been sponsored yet.|
|Live Poker||There are cash games and tournaments allowed at most of the charitable card rooms but not at the Native American casinos.|
|Casinos||There are numerous charity-based casinos in the state, which offer games like bingo and poker, all with a charitable component to their revenue. There are also a handful of Native American casinos, but they do not offer table games like poker.|
|Sports Betting||There have been no formal conversations among legislators to consider legalized sports betting.|
|DFS||North Dakota lawmakers have not considered any formal proposals to legalize daily fantasy sports.|
|Other Forms of Gambling||Licensed dog and horse racing, pari-mutuel wagering, lottery, bingo, pull-tabs, charitable bingo and raffles.|
North Dakota Gambling & Poker Law
Before we continue with this section, a few things should be said. Firstly, there is a lot of misinformation about state gambling law on the Internet. Secondly, gambling law, including North Dakota’s, tends to be vague and difficult to understand. Therefore, relying on experienced lawyers for definitive answers about what is legal and what is not legal is crucial.
We know that reading state law can be tough going, so we’ve extracted some of the most important parts of North Dakota law and listed them below.
Let’s start with how North Dakota determines what qualifies as gambling and what does not. Section 12.1-28-01(1) contains the definition of gambling.
“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.”
That’s one of the broadest definitions of gambling that you’ll find in any state law. The definition of “gambling apparatus” adds even more reach:
“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 12.1-28-01(2)).
So what constitutes a gambling crime in North Dakota? From a player perspective, it depends on how much money is involved in the activity. The key phrase in North Dakota law is “hand, game or event.” As certain thresholds are passed, the charges escalate in severity. For example, if the total involved in the “hand, game or event” is under $25, there’s no charge. From $25 to $500, you’re looking at an infraction. Over $500 and it’s a class A misdemeanor (Section 12.1-28-02(2)).
Law enforcement aims the toughest charges at the people behind the operation of illegal gambling activity. In North Dakota, running, profiting from, or owning illegal games can lead to felony charges.
To introduce new forms of regulated gambling requires an amendment to the North Dakota constitution.
The above is only a starting point and not a substitute for legal advice. To learn more, see the links below and you’ll be taken to an online version of the North Dakota statutes.
Chances of North Dakota Regulating Online Poker
Although the state of North Dakota has not been part of the national conversation on online poker regulation, there’s no unique reason to believe it would sit out a national wave of regulation. However, many now expect the state not to be out in front of the crowd on the issue if the process goes state-by-state.
In short: Regulated online gambling may come to the state eventually, but it will take events outside of the state to accelerate the process.
Overview of Gambling in North Dakota
Despite this, there is still a fair amount of regulated gambling options in North Dakota. While there are no longer racetracks in the state, pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races remains legal. Additionally, although there are no commercial casinos, tribal gaming outlets offer casino-style gambling – including poker, slots, and other table games. Lastly, charitable gambling and lottery options round out the regulated gambling offerings in the state.
Do I Have any State-Regulated Online Gambling Choices in North Dakota?
As of this article, the state of North Dakota does not directly regulate or license any online gambling operators. North Dakota does not consider all forms of online gambling illegal. An activity can comply with state gambling law even if it’s not regulated. All it means is that the state simply has yet to get into the business of overseeing any type of online gambling.
Useful Sites for North Dakota Gambling Research
North Dakota Attorney General: Gaming Division. All charitable gambling activity in the state is overseen by the Gaming Division of the North Dakota AG.
North Dakota Department of Human Services. 24-hour hotline and a host of related resources on the topic of problem gambling.
Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy. Research center at the University of North Dakota that serves as a clearinghouse for information and academic inquiry into tribal gambling in the state.
Poker Culture, History and North Dakota
For a state small in size, North Dakota has managed to play a pretty substantial role in the history of poker. One North Dakota native stands above the rest, at least when it comes to lifetime earnings: Greg Raymer, best remembered for his triumph in the 2004 Main Event of the World Series of Poker. Raymer also made major poker headlines in 2012 when he strung together an impressive four wins out of six Heartland Poker Tour events over a span of just 100 days – a feat with little precedent in the poker world.
All Poker Gambling Laws by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
North Dakota in the News
Prior to 2021, most online gambling industry analysts would not have put North Dakota on the list of possible legal
Protestors in the North Dakota pipeline standoff are taking shelter in a nearby casino as a blizzard rolls through the
Sources & Citations For This Article on North Dakota Online Poker
- North Dakota Gambling Laws – FindLaw
- North Dakota Attorney General : Gaming
- Department of Human Services: State of North Dakota
- Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy
- North Dakota Problem Gambling
- National Council on Problem Gambling (North Dakota)
- Official State Website
- Laws/Code of North Dakota
- North Dakota Legal Guide
- North Dakota Lottery