Minnesota at a Glance
Gaming License: Yes
Non-Gaming License: Yes
Vendor License Exemptions Available: Yes
Temporary License: Yes
Ownership Disclosure Threshold: 10% (Contact Tribe)
Institutional Investor Waiver: Contact Tribe
Fees: $15.00 - $7,500
State Gaming Lab: Contact Tribe
Term of License: 1 Year
Deadline to Reapply: Contact Tribe
Political Contribution Restrictions: No

Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council

Fond du Lac Gaming Commission

Grand Portage Gaming Commission
(218) 475-2277

Leech Lake Gaming Commission

Lower Sioux Gaming Commission

Mille Lacs Band Gaming Regulatory Authority

Minnesota Gambling Control Board

Prairie Island Gaming Commission

Red Lake Tribal Gaming Commission

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Gaming Commission

Upper Sioux Community Gaming Commission

White Earth Gaming Commission

Minnesota Gaming Supplier Regulatory Overview


State-regulated gambling activities in Minnesota include licensed charitable gambling, including pulltabs, paddlewheels, tipboards, bingo, and raffles. The Minnesota Lottery, pari-mutuel betting on horse races, and tribal gaming are also permitted.

The state of Minnesota currently does not allow for commercial casinos. However, in 1989 former Governor Rudy Perpich signed the first seven video game compacts with Native American Tribes. Since then, Minnesota has negotiated 22 tribal-state compacts with 11 tribes, resulting in the establishment of 18 Class III casinos in the state. The Class III games permitted under these compacts are blackjack and video games of chance. Both are separately negotiated in state-tribal compacts.

Minnesota’s division of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement (“Division”) conducts criminal and gaming license background investigations on behalf of the tribes, which annually includes approximately 20,500 individual and corporate background checks and 5,100 fingerprint card submissions on casino employees. The Division also monitors the 18 tribal casinos in the state for compliance with the state-tribal compacts.1

In addition to state licensure, some tribes in the state require the licensure of vendors or other suppliers of gaming equipment at the tribal level. A general overview of these requirements, as utilized by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, is provided below.

State Manufacturer and Distributor Licensing Requirements

In the state of Minnesota, “Manufacturer" means a person who assembles from raw materials or subparts a gambling device for sale or use in Minnesota. In addition, "Distributor" means a person who sells, offers to sell, or otherwise provides a gambling device to a person in Minnesota.

An applicant must submit an application to the Division. In addition, state law provides several different license classes for manufacturers and distributors. There are six license classes, as follows:

1. Distributor of 100 or fewer used devices;
2. Distributor of more than 100 used devices;
3. Distributor of 100 or fewer new, or new and used devices;
4. Distributor of more than 100 new, or new and used devices;
5. Manufacturer of 100 or fewer new devices; and
6. Manufacturer of more than 100 new devices.2


A supplier’s license is valid for one year. The licensing year is a calendar year. A license issued expires on December 31 of the year for which application is made. If an initial license is issued after June 30 of the year for which application is made, the Division will refund one-half of the first annual fee.3


Fees will vary depending on the class of license sought. Below is a list of the annual license fees for each class of license:

1. Distributor of 100 or fewer used devices - $5,000;
2. Distributor of more than 100 used devices - $7,500;
3. Distributor of 100 or fewer new, or new and used devices - $1,500;
4. Distributor of more than 100 new, or new and used devices - $2,000;
5. Manufacturer of 100 or fewer new devices - $5,000; and
6. Manufacturer of more than 100 new devices - $7,500.4

An applicant for an initial license must also submit to the Division an investigation fee to cover the costs of the investigation. The investigation fee is $1,500 if the applicant's main business location is in Minnesota and $5,000 if the applicant's main business location is outside Minnesota. Applicants are responsible for any investigative fees that exceed the initial investigative fee submitted at the time of application.5

In addition to the above, a licensing surcharge of $150 is required for each application, regardless of the class of the license.6

Required Documents and Information

The Division provides an initial Manufacturer and/or Distributer Gambling Devices Application and a Renewal Application to be completed by applicant. In order to complete the state application, the applicant must supply the following information:

1. Basic identification information;
2. Business structure and organization;
3. Identity of each officer, director, partner, and/or person holding 5% or more ownership interest in the applicant;
4. Identity of all holding or affiliate companies;
5. Gaming license disciplinary action history;
6. Criminal history;
7. Details regarding how records are kept;
8. For each person or entity listed in the initial application:
A. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has been a party in a civil proceeding and alleged to have engaged in an unfair or anticompetitive business practice, a securities violation, or false or misleading advertising;
B. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has been a party in an administrative or judicial proceeding alleging a violation of a statute or rule relating to unfair labor practices, discrimination, or gambling;
C. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has commenced an administrative or judicial action against a governmental regulator of gambling;
D. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has been a party other than a creditor in a voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy proceeding;
E. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has failed to satisfy any judgment, decree, or order of an administrative or judicial tribunal; or
F. Whether the person, partnership, or corporation has been delinquent in filing a tax report required or remitting a tax imposed by any government.
G. Employment and residence history for all individuals listed, since the person was 18 years of age.
9. The class of the license sought;
10. Most recent financial or tax documents;
11. Details regarding any financing agreements;
12. Identity of employees working in a gaming-related capacity;
13. Identity of those persons who have entered into a profit sharing arrangement with the applicant;
14. Identity of individuals holding an option to purchase an ownership interest in the applicant;
15. If the applicant does not maintain a Minnesota office, the application must be accompanied by an irrevocable consent statement signed by the applicant stating that suits and actions relating to the subject matter of the application or acts or omissions arising from it may be commenced against the applicant in a court of competent jurisdiction in this state by service on the secretary of state of any summons, process, or pleadings authorized by the laws of this state.
16. List of all gaming devices in the applicant’s possession within the state; and
17. Minnesota state tax forms.

State Individual Licensing Requirements

In addition to the information required to be submitted on the corporate application form listed above, those individuals listed as a key person, beneficial owner of 5% or more of the applicant, or otherwise identified by the Division for licensure must complete a Personal History Statement and file it with the Division.

Duration and Fees

The personal history disclosure forms are tied to the corporate application and, therefore, there are no individual license terms. In addition, there are no individual licensing fees that need to be submitted for each personal history form. However, applicants should be aware that the applicant is responsible for all investigative costs beyond those submitted with the initial application materials.

Required Documents and Information

In order to complete the Personal History Statement, the following information is necessary:

1. Basic identification information;
2. Physical description;
3. Address and residence history, since applicant was 18 years old;
4. Criminal history;
5. Gaming licensure history;
6. Employment history, since the applicant was 18 years old;
7. List of financial interests in gaming companies; and
8. List of all permits or licenses held in any jurisdiction.

Tribal Vendor License

In addition to the state requirements discussed above, tribes have the authority to independently license vendors or other gaming suppliers. As licensure requirements will vary by tribe, the information below is provided as a general overview of tribal vendor licensing requirements typical in Minnesota. The following information is taken from the tribal gaming regulations for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians (“Mille Lacs”).7

Those individuals providing goods or services “unique to gaming and not common to ordinary Tribal operations” or that provides at least $25,000 per year in goods or services to a tribal casino must be licensed by the Mille Lac Band Gaming Regulatory Authority (“Authority”).8 Those non-gaming suppliers who provide less than $25,000 are not required to obtain a license, but must register with the tribe by providing basic identification information and a copy of the company’s W-9 Form.9


Vendor licenses are valid for a period of one year.10


Licensing fees for vendors may vary depending on the type and volume of goods or services provided. For example, the Mille Lacs license fee structure ranges from $15-$250 and is based on the volume of sales.11

Required Documents and Information

The following documentation and information must be provided to apply for a tribal vendor’s license:

1. Basic identification information;
2. Type of goods or services offered;
3. Corporate structure and organization;
4. Tax ID number;
5. Details regarding contracts with tribal gaming facilities;
6. Identity of individuals or entities with an ownership interest in the applicant;
7. Identity of all key persons and substantial owners (holding 10% or more interest in the applicant);
8. Regulatory action history;
9. Criminal and civil action history;
10. List of all gaming licenses held or applied for;
11. Financial information; and
12. Proof of liability insurance.12

Individual Licensing Requirements

Those individuals identified as a key person or substantial owner on a corporate applicant’s license application must complete a Personal Disclosure Form in connection with the corporate application. However, if the corporate applicant is a non-gaming supplier and is publicly traded, then the key persons and substantial owners are exempt from filing the Personal Disclosure Form.13

The Personal Disclosure Form requires the applicant to disclose the following information:
1. Basic identification information;
2. Criminal and civil action history;
3. Business activities and associations;
4. Regulatory action history; and
5. Gaming licensure history.

Disclosure and Reporting Requirements

State Requirements

A licensee must notify the Division of a change in any information concerning the licensee that is required to be contained in a license application. The notice must be on a form provided by the Division. One owner, partner, officer, director, or shareholder shall sign the notice, verifying that the information on the notice is true. The signature must be notarized. The licensee shall submit the notice so that it is received by the Division before the change occurs, unless this is not possible, in which case, the licensee shall give notice as soon as reasonable.14

Tribal Requirements

Applicants and licensees have a duty to provide the Authority with information regarding any material change in the licensee. Any changes to the employment status of key persons must also be disclosed and any new key persons must submit the appropriate license applications and receive approval from the Authority once employed.

Gaming Technology Standards

Each compact contains a detailed list of approved Class III games and standards. These documents contain detailed explanations of the required rules and standards for each approved Class III game to be conducted in a tribal gaming facility. Suppliers of gaming equipment should consult the individual compacts, available at the National Indian Gaming Commission’s website, for details regarding the gaming standards for individual Class III games.15

In addition to compact requirements, electronic games of chance and other similar games must meet National Indian Gaming Commission standards, including the requirement that equipment be examined and approved by an independent testing laboratory in accordance with individual tribal ordinances.16
1See Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement website,
2Minn. Admin. Rules 7570.0020, Subp. 6.
3Minn. Admin. Rules 7570.0020, Subp. 4.
4'Manufacturer and/or Distributor Gambling Devices Application,' p. 1.
5Minn. Admin. Rules 7570.0020, Subp. 5.
6'Manufacturer and/or Distributor Gambling Devices Application,' p. 1.
7'Vendor Background Investigations and Licensing,' Document No. DGR-7a, Effective July 26, 2005.
8DGR-7a, III(1).
9DGR-7a, IV(2).
10DGR-7a, V(6).
11DGR-7a, V(2).
12DGR-7a, VI(2).
13GR-7a VI(1).
14Minn. Admin. Rules 7570.0020, Subp. 8.
16See 25 CFR 542, 547.

This article is provided by Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. For information about the services they provide please visit our information on gaming licensing and compliance advisors.