MINNESOTA -- As one of the biggest betting days of the year happens Sunday, it's important to remember what Minnesota considers legal, and illegal, in the world of gambling.

It's tough to know what exactly constitutes an illegal bet sometimes outside of Vegas. Minnesota law says any bet is illegal. The law defines a bet as "a bargain whereby the parties mutually agree to 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."


Terry Kelley is a Senior Special Agent with the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement arm of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. He says while Minnesota's laws are strict on what a bet is, they're not just trying to ruin a good time.

"We're not trying to be the fun police. We're trying to do two things. Trying to maintain integrity in the industry, and we're trying to make sure there are some consumer protections."

Kelley adds they want to make sure you're not getting involved with shady characters in the industry. State law does create an exception for a private, social bet. However, you have to make sure it isn't part of an organized system of commercial or systematic gambling.

Kelley says any bet you may make in Vegas is legal. As long as you do it in Vegas, as opposed to online.

"Now if you're here in Minnesota, and you're on some website that's remote from somewhere else, it's still a crime to place that bet."

Another important point, the owner of the location of the bet, can't gain any profit from the bet, or organize them, or advertise their occurrence. Your card game with your friends should be A-OK.

Kelley says they prefer to educate before they have to enforce. So make sure if you have any questions about your bet to call the Department of Public Safety.

Any bets that involve a game of skill as the activity, like darts, bowling and pool will not come with any criminal penalties.

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country