Minnesota Poker Law

Current Minnesota Poker Law

Minnesota Gaming Control Board Info
MN Statutes for Lawful Gambling

Home poker games are specifically not mentioned in the laws that were created to regulate home gambling. But in the past couple of years there has been a wide acceptance by society of poker as a game of skill (although it still has a long way to go). Therefore, it stands to reason that anyone caught organizing or playing in a home poker game will probably not be punished to the full extent of the law. Whenever you think of the law then you must think of the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law. Most home gambling laws were created for 2 reasons: to protect citizens from developing dangerous gambling habits as a results of easy access to gambling establishments and to keep citizens from profiting by running a gambling establishment. Home poker games, for the most part, are not guilty of either of these things. As long as they are unraked and low-stakes they are harmless.

It is legal to host a game at your house as long as you are not profiting from it.
(also known as a rake)

Minnesota Statutes 2002
Lawful Gambling

Last Visited 2003-9-4

349.11 Purpose.

The purpose of sections 349.11 to349.22 is to regulate lawful gambling to prevent its commercialization, to insure integrity of operations, and to provide for the use of net profits only for lawful purposes.

349.12 Definitions.

Subd. 24. Lawful gambling. “Lawful gambling” is the operation, conduct or sale of bingo, raffles, paddlewheels, tipboards, and pull-tabs.

349A.02 State lottery.

Subdivision 1. Director. A state lottery is established under the supervision and control of the director of the state lottery appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. The director must be qualified by experience and training in the operation of a lottery to supervise the lottery. The director serves in the unclassified service. The annual salary rate authorized for the director is equal to 95 percent of the salary rate prescribed for the governor.

Criminal Laws

Last Visited 2003-9-4

609.75 Gambling; definitions.

Subdivision 1. Lottery. (a) A lottery is a plan which provides for the distribution of money, property or other reward or benefit to persons selected by chance from among participants some or all of whom have given a consideration for the chance of being selected. A participant’s payment for use of a 900 telephone number or another means of communication that results in payment to the sponsor of the plan constitutes consideration under this paragraph.

(b) An in-package chance promotion is not a lottery if all of the following are met:

(1) participation is available, free and without purchase of the package, from the retailer or by mail or toll-free telephone request to the sponsor for entry or for a game piece;

(2) the label of the promotional package and any related advertising clearly states any method of participation and the scheduled termination date of the promotion;

(3) the sponsor on request provides a retailer with a supply of entry forms or game pieces adequate to permit free participation in the promotion by the retailer’s customers;

(4) the sponsor does not misrepresent a participant’s chances of winning any prize;

(5) the sponsor randomly distributes all game pieces and maintains records of random distribution for at least one year after the termination date of the promotion;

(6) all prizes are randomly awarded if game pieces are not used in the promotion; and

(7) the sponsor provides on request of a state agency a record of the names and addresses of all winners of prizes valued at $100 or more, if the request is made within one year after the termination date of the promotion.

(c) Except as provided by section 349.40, acts in this state in furtherance of a lottery conducted outside of this state are included notwithstanding its validity where conducted.

(d) The distribution of property, or other reward or benefit by an employer to persons selected by chance from among participants who have made a contribution through a payroll or pension deduction campaign to a registered combined charitable organization, within the meaning of section 309.501, as a precondition to the chance of being selected, is not a lottery if:

(1) all of the persons eligible to be selected are employed by or retirees of the employer; and

(2) the cost of the property or other reward or benefit distributed and all costs associated with the distribution are borne by the employer.

Subd. 2. Bet. 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.

Subd. 3. What are not bets. The following are not bets:

(1) A contract to insure, indemnify, guarantee or otherwise compensate another for a harm or loss sustained, even though the loss depends upon chance.

(2) A contract for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or other commodities.

(3) Offers of purses, prizes or premiums to the actual contestants in any bona fide contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength, endurance, or quality or to the bona fide owners of animals or other property entered in such a contest.

(4) The game of bingo when conducted in compliance with sections 349.11 to 349.23.

(5) A private social bet not part of or incidental to organized, commercialized, or systematic gambling.

(6) The operation of equipment or the conduct of a raffle under sections 349.11 to 349.22, by an organization licensed by the gambling control board or an organization exempt from licensing under section 349.166.

(7) Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing when the betting is conducted under chapter 240.

(8) The purchase and sale of state lottery tickets under chapter 349A.

Subd. 4. Gambling device. A gambling device is a contrivance which for a consideration affords the player an opportunity to obtain something of value, other than free plays, automatically from the machine or otherwise, the award of which is determined principally by chance. “Gambling device” also includes a video game of chance, as defined in subdivision 8.

Subd. 4a. Associated equipment. Associated equipment means any equipment used in connection with gambling that would not be classified as a gambling device, including but not limited to: cards, dice, computerized systems of betting at a race book or sports pool, computerized systems for monitoring slot machines or games of chance, devices for weighing or counting money, and links which connect progressive slot machines.

Subd. 5. Gambling place. A gambling place is a location or structure, stationary or movable, or any part thereof, wherein, as one of its uses, betting is permitted or promoted, a lottery is conducted or assisted or a gambling device is operated.

Subd. 6. Bucket shop. A bucket shop is a place wherein the operator is engaged in making bets in the form of purchases or sales on public exchanges of securities, commodities or other personal property for future delivery to be settled at prices dependent on the chance of those prevailing at the public exchanges without a bona fide purchase or sale being in fact made on a board of trade or exchange.

Subd. 7. Sports bookmaking. Sports bookmaking is the activity of intentionally receiving, recording or forwarding within any 30-day period more than five bets, or offers to bet, that total more than $2,500 on any one or more sporting events.

Subd. 8. Video game of chance. A video game of chance is a game or device that simulates one or more games commonly referred to as poker, blackjack, craps, hi-lo, roulette, or other common gambling forms, though not offering any type of pecuniary award or gain to players. The term also includes any video game having one or more of the following characteristics:

(1) it is primarily a game of chance, and has no substantial elements of skill involved;

(2) it awards game credits or replays and contains a meter or device that records unplayed credits or replays.

Subd. 9. 900 telephone number. A 900 telephone number is a ten-digit number, the first three numbers of which are from 900 to 999.

Subd. 10. Game. A game means any game played with cards, dice, equipment, or any mechanical or electronic device or machine for money or other value, whether or not approved by law, and includes, but is not limited to: card and dice games of chance, slot machines, banking or percentage games, video games of chance, sports pools, pari-mutuel betting, and race book. “Game” does not include any private social bet.

Subd. 11. Authorized gambling activity. An authorized gambling activity means any form of gambling authorized by and operated in conformance with law.

Subd. 12. Authorized gambling establishment. An authorized gambling establishment means any premises where gambling authorized by law is occurring.

Subd. 13. Applicability of definitions. For the purposes of sections 609.75 to 609.762, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

609.755 Acts of or relating to gambling.

Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:

(1) makes a bet;

(2) sells or transfers a chance to participate in a lottery;

(3) disseminates information about a lottery, except a lottery conducted by an adjoining state, with intent to encourage participation therein;

(4) permits a structure or location owned or occupied by the actor or under the actor’s control to be used as a gambling place; or

(5) except where authorized by statute, possesses a gambling device.

Clause (5) does not prohibit possession of a gambling device in a person’s dwelling for amusement purposes in a manner that does not afford players an opportunity to obtain anything of value.

609.76 Other acts relating to gambling.

Subdivision 1. Gross misdemeanors. Whoever does any of the following may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both:

(1) maintains or operates a gambling place or operates a bucket shop;

(2) intentionally participates in the income of a gambling place or bucket shop;

(3) conducts a lottery, or, with intent to conduct a lottery, possesses facilities for doing so;

(4) sets up for use for the purpose of gambling, or collects the proceeds of, any gambling device or bucket shop;

(5) except as provided in section 299L.07, manufactures, sells, offers for sale, or otherwise provides, in whole or any part thereof, any gambling device including those defined in section 349.30, subdivision 2;

(6) with intent that it be so used, manufactures, sells, or offers for sale any facility for conducting a lottery, except as provided by section 349.40; or

(7) receives, records, or forwards bets or offers to bet or, with intent to receive, record, or forward bets or offers to bet, possesses facilities to do so.

Subd. 2. Sports bookmaking. Whoever engages in sports bookmaking is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 3. Cheating. Whoever cheats in a game, as described in this subdivision, is subject to the following penalties:

(i) if the person holds a license related to gambling or is an employee of the licensee, the person is guilty of a felony; and

(ii) any other person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Any person who is a repeat offender is guilty of a felony.

A person cheats in a game by intentionally:

(1) altering or misrepresenting the outcome of a game or event on which wagers have been made, after the outcome is determined, but before the outcome is revealed to the players;

(2) placing, canceling, increasing, or decreasing a bet after acquiring knowledge, not available to other players, of the outcome of the game or subject of the bet, or of events affecting the outcome of the game or subject of the bet;

(3) claiming or collecting money or anything of value from a game or authorized gambling establishment not won or earned from the game or authorized gambling establishment;

(4) manipulating a gambling device or associated equipment to affect the outcome of the game or the number of plays or credits available on the game; or

(5) otherwise altering the elements of chance or methods of selection or criteria which determine the result of the game or amount or frequency of payment of the game.

Subd. 4. Certain devices prohibited. (a) Whoever uses or possesses a probability-calculating or outcome-affecting device at an authorized gambling establishment is guilty of a felony. For purposes of this subdivision, a “probability-calculating” or “outcome-affecting” device is any device to assist in:

(1) projecting the outcome of a game other than pari-mutuel betting authorized by chapter 240;

(2) keeping track of or counting cards used in a game;

(3) analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to a game other than pari-mutuel betting authorized by chapter 240; or

(4) analyzing the strategy for playing or betting in a game other than pari-mutuel betting authorized by chapter 240.

For purposes of this section, a book, graph, periodical, chart, or pamphlet is not a “probability-calculating” or “outcome-affecting” device.

(b) Whoever uses, or possesses with intent to use, a key or other instrument for the purpose of opening, entering, and affecting the operation of any game or gambling device or for removing money, chips, tokens, or other contents from therein, is guilty of a felony. This paragraph does not apply to an agent or employee of an authorized gambling establishment acting within the scope of employment.

Subd. 5. Counterfeit chips prohibited. Whoever intentionally uses counterfeit chips or tokens to play a game at an authorized gambling establishment as defined in section 609.75, subdivision 5, designed to be played with or operated by chips or tokens is guilty of a felony. For purposes of this subdivision, counterfeit chips or tokens are chips or tokens not approved by the government regulatory agency for use in an authorized gambling activity.

Subd. 6. Manufacture, sale, and modification prohibited. (a) Whoever manufactures, sells, distributes, or otherwise provides cards, chips, tokens, dice, or other equipment or devices intended to be used to violate this section, is guilty of a felony.

(b) Whoever intentionally marks, alters, or otherwise modifies lawful associated equipment or gambling devices for the purpose of violating this section is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 7. Instruction. Whoever instructs another person to violate the provisions of this section, with the intent that the information or knowledge conveyed be used to violate this section, is guilty of a felony.

Subd. 8. Value of chips or tokens. The value of chips or tokens approved for use in a game designed to be played with or operated by chips or tokens, as the term “value” is used in section 609.52, is the amount or denomination shown on the face of the chip or token representing United States currency. Chips used in tournament play at a card club at a class A facility have no United States currency value.

609.761 Operations permitted.

Subdivision 1. Lawful gambling. Notwithstanding sections 609.755 and 609.76, an organization may conduct lawful gambling as defined in section 349.12, if authorized under chapter 349, and a person may manufacture, sell, or offer for sale a gambling device to an organization authorized under chapter 349 to conduct lawful gambling, and pari-mutuel betting on horse racing may be conducted under chapter 240.

Subd. 2. State lottery. Sections 609.755 and 609.76 do not prohibit the operation of the state lottery or the sale, possession, or purchase of tickets for the state lottery under chapter 349A.

Subd. 3. Social skill game. Sections 609.755 and 609.76 do not prohibit tournaments or contests that satisfy all of the following requirements:

(1) the tournament or contest consists of the card games of chance commonly known as cribbage, skat, sheephead, bridge, euchre, pinochle, gin, 500, smear, or whist;

(2) the tournament or contest does not provide any direct financial benefit to the promoter or organizer; and

(3) the sum of all prizes awarded for each tournament or contest does not exceed $200.

Subd. 4. Social dice games. Sections 609.755 and 609.76 do not prohibit dice games conducted on the premises and adjoining rooms of a retail establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages if the following requirements are satisfied:

(1) the games consist of board games played with dice or commonly known dice games such as “shake-a-day,” “3-2-1,” “who buys,” “last chance,” “liar’s poker,” “6-5-4,” “horse,” and “aces”;

(2) wagers or prizes for the games are limited to food or beverages; and

(3) the retail establishment does not organize or participate financially in the games.

Subd. 5. High school raffles. Sections 609.755 and 609.76 do not prohibit a raffle, as defined in section 349.12, subdivision 33, conducted by a school district or a nonprofit organization organized primarily to support programs of a school district, if the following conditions are complied with:

(1) tickets for the raffle may only be sold and the drawing conducted at a high school event sponsored by a school district;

(2) tickets may only be sold to persons attending the event;

(3) the drawing must be held during or immediately after the conclusion of the event; and

(4) one-half of the gross receipts from the sale of tickets must be awarded as prizes for the raffle, and the remaining one-half may only be expended to defray the school district’s costs of sending event participants to high school activities held at other locations.

609.762 Forfeiture of gambling devices, prizes and proceeds.

Subdivision 1. Forfeiture. The following are subject to forfeiture:

(a) devices used or intended for use, including those defined in section 349.30, subdivision 2, as a gambling device, except as authorized in sections 349.11 to 349.23 and 349.40;

(b) all moneys, materials, and other property used or intended for use as payment to participate in gambling or a prize or receipt for gambling;

(c) books, records, and research products and materials, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data used or intended for use in gambling; and

(d) property used or intended to be used to illegally influence the outcome of a horse race.

Subd. 2. Seizure. Property subject to forfeiture under subdivision 1 may be seized by any law enforcement agency upon process issued by any court having jurisdiction over the property. Seizure without process may be made if:

(a) the seizure is incident to an arrest or a search under a search warrant;

(b) the property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding; or

(c) the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that the property was used or is intended to be used in a gambling violation and the delay occasioned by the necessity to obtain process would result in the removal, loss, or destruction of the property.

Subd. 3. Not subject to replevin. Property taken or detained under subdivision 2 is not subject to a replevin action, but is considered to be in the custody of the law enforcement agency subject only to the orders and decrees of the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings.

Subd. 4. Procedures. Property must be forfeited after a conviction for a gambling violation according to the following procedure:

(a) a separate complaint must be filed against the property describing it, charging its use in the specified violation, and specifying the time and place of its unlawful use;

(b) if the person charged with a gambling offense is acquitted, the court shall dismiss the complaint and order the property returned to the persons legally entitled to it; and

(c) if after conviction the court finds the property, or any part of it, was used in violation as specified in the complaint, it shall order that the property be sold or retained by the law enforcement agency for official use. Proceeds from the sale of forfeited property may be retained for official use and shared equally between the law enforcement agency investigating the offense involved in the forfeiture and the prosecuting agency that prosecuted the offense involved in the forfeiture and handled the forfeiture proceedings.

Subd. 5. Exception. Property may not be seized or forfeited under this section if the owner shows to the satisfaction of the court that the owner had no notice or knowledge or reason to believe that the property was used or intended to be used in violation of this section.

609.763 Lawful gambling fraud.

Subdivision 1. Crime. A person is guilty of a crime and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 2 if the person does any of the following:

(1) knowingly claims a lawful gambling prize using altered or counterfeited gambling equipment;

(2) knowingly claims a lawful gambling prize by means of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;

(3) manipulates any form of lawful gambling or tampers with any gambling equipment with intent to influence the outcome of a game or the receipt of a prize; or

(4) knowingly places or uses false information on a prize receipt or on any other form approved for use by the gambling control board or the alcohol and gambling enforcement division of the department of public safety.

Subd. 2. Penalty. A person who violates subdivision 1 may be sentenced as follows:

(1) if the dollar amount involved is $500 or less, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor;

(2) if the dollar amount involved is more than $500 but not more than $2,500, the person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor; and

(3) if the dollar amount involved is more than $2,500, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $6,000, or both.

Subd. 3. Aggregation; jurisdiction. In a prosecution under this section, the dollar amounts obtained in violation of subdivision 1 within any 12-month period may be aggregated and the defendant charged accordingly. When two or more offenses are committed by the same person in two or more counties, the defendant may be prosecuted in any county in which one of the offenses was committed for all of the offenses aggregated under this subdivision.