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Introduction to Minnesota Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2020

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Minnesota slot machine casino gambling consists of 19 tribal casinos with slot machines.


Theoretical payout limits exist due to tribal-state compacts. Actual return statistics are not publicly available.

This post continues my weekly State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambler to success. Now in its third year, each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.

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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Minnesota*

The minimum legal gambling age in Minnesota depends upon the gambling activity:

  • Land-Based Casinos: 18/21
  • Poker Rooms: 18
  • Bingo: 18
  • Lottery: 18
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18

Minnesota prohibited gambling for nearly a century which, to this day, still influences legalized gambling. The Minnesota House Research Department documented the convoluted history of legalizing gambling from 1945 to 2005 in Gambling in Minnesota: A Short History.

Establishment of tribal gaming regulations was through compacts. Minnesota’s eleven federally-recognized American Indian tribes were the first to negotiate and sign tribal-state gaming compacts. The 22 negotiated compacts produced 19 tribal casinos in the state.

Each tribe has two compacts, one for video games-of-chance and a second for card games. Tribal casinos operate under a combination of state law, tribal ordinance, and tribal-state compacts. Class II games-of-skill machines are unregulated by the state.

These gaming compacts permit non-video Class III Vegas-style, games-of-chance, slot machines. However, blackjack and non-banked card games such as poker and video games-of-chance are explicitly restricted. Also banned are electronic video games like video poker, video keno, video slots, and others.

The gaming compacts stipulate the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is responsible for the inspection and approval of these video gaming machines. Both parties agreed that the compacts should be effective in perpetuity but re-negotiations can occur if desired by both parties.

Minnesota makes all tribal-state compacts publicly available at Tribal-State Gaming Compacts, consisting of 100 downloadable pdf files.

*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws might apply to various forms of gaming. It is not legal advice.

Slot Machine Private Ownership in Minnesota

It is legal to own a slot machine privately in Minnesota.

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Gaming Control Board in Minnesota

Minnesota has six gaming control boards for various aspects of gambling oversight. The gaming compacts provide for inspection and approval of video gaming machines by the Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AEGD).

Further, compact gaming regulations approve the licensing casino employees, machine payout percentages, and regulation of the play of blackjack. Specific responsibilities of the AEGD includes:

  • Licensing of manufacturers and distributors of gambling devices.
  • Gambling criminal enforcement and investigation.
  • Assure compliance with tribal-state compacts.

Casinos in Minnesota

There are 19 American Indian tribal casinos on reservations in Minnesota.

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The largest casino in Minnesota is Mystic Lake Casino Hotel with 4,000 gaming machines.

The second-largest casino is Treasure Island Resort and Casino with 2,200 gaming machines.

Commercial Casinos in Minnesota

Minnesota’s two pari-mutuel facilities Canterbury Park and Running Aces offer blackjack and non-banked card games such as poker. However, both racetracks can’t offer slot machines.

Tribal Casinos in Minnesota

Minnesota’s 19 tribal casinos are:

  1. Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton located 22 miles southwest of Duluth.
  2. Fond-du-Luth Casino near downtown Duluth.
  3. Fortune Bay Resort & Casino in Tower located 91 miles north of Duluth.
  4. Grand Casino Hinckley located 82 miles north of Minneapolis.
  5. Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Onamia located 97 miles north of Minneapolis.
  6. Grand Portage Lodge & Casino located 144 miles northeast of Duluth a few miles from the Canadian border.
  7. Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel in Morton located 113 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
  8. Little Six Casino in Prior Lake located 26 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
  9. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake located 27 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
  10. Northern Lights Casino & Hotel in Walker located 128 miles west of Duluth.
  11. Palace Casino & Hotel in Cass Lake located 140 miles northwest of Duluth.
  12. Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort in Granite Falls located 129 miles west of Minneapolis.
  13. Seven Clans Casino Red Lake located 180 miles northwest of Duluth.
  14. Seven Clans Casino Thief River Falls located 235 miles northwest of Duluth.
  15. Seven Clans Casino Warroad located 251 miles northwest of Duluth a few miles from the Canadian border.
  16. Shooting Star Casino Bagley located 186 miles northwest of Duluth.
  17. Shooting Star Casino Hotel in Mahnomen located 211 miles west of Duluth.
  18. Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch located 46 miles southeast of Minneapolis.
  19. White Oak Casino in Deer River located 99 miles northwest of Duluth.

Other Gambling Establishments

As an alternative to enjoying Minnesota slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state. Bordering Minnesota is:

  • North: The Canadian Provinces of Manitoba and Ontario
  • East: Wisconsin Slots and, across Lake Superior, Michigan Slots
  • South: Iowa Slots
  • West: North Dakota Slots and South Dakota Slots

Each of the links above will take you to my blog for that neighboring U.S. state to Minnesota.

Our Minnesota Slots Facebook Group

Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Minnesota? If so, join our new Minnesota slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to join this closed Facebook Group freely.

There, you’ll be able to privately share your slots experiences as well as chat with players about slots gambling in Minnesota. Join us!

Payout Returns in Minnesota

As written into tribal-state gaming compacts, the minimum and maximum theoretical payout for slot machines are 80% and 95%, respectively, over the lifetime of the game.

Further, video keno and similar games specifically cited have a theoretical payout requirement of no less than 75% applied to each number of spots marked per wager.

Video games of chance affected by player skill such as video poker and video blackjack have a minimum and maximum payout return of 83% and 98% again over the lifetime of the game. These limits assume optimal play.

Minnesota’s tribal casinos don’t offer return statistics to the public.

Summary of Minnesota Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2020

Minnesota slot machine casino gambling consists of 19 tribal casinos with video-style slot machines.

Minimum and maximum theoretical payout limits are 80% and 95% for video slot machines. Video keno has a lower payout return limit of 75%. Skill-based games like video poker and video blackjack are instead 83% and 98%, but assume a perfect playing strategy for optimal play. No return statistics are publicly available.

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Annual Progress in Minnesota Slot Machine Casino Gambling

In the last year, there has been no significant changes in slots gaming industry of Minnesota.

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By Jon H. Friedl, Jr. Ph.D., President
Jon Friedl, LLC