Fond-du-Luth Casino in downtown Duluth lowers gambling age to 18The city's only casino opened its games to younger customers this week.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Duluth’s only casino opened its games to younger customers this week.
Fond-du-Luth Casino dropped its minimum age for gambling from 21 to 18.
“The primary reason for the change of policy is to be consistent with our sister property, Black Bear Casino, where the minimum age has always been 18,” said Maurice Ojibway, Fond-du-Luth’s general manager. Both Black Bear and Fond-du-Luth are run by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Ojibway noted that most casinos in the state welcome gamblers as young as 18.
The Minnesota State Lottery sells tickets to people 18 and older, as well.
Fond-du-Luth raised its minimum age to 21 in 1992, when it began serving alcohol on the casino’s game floor.
Ojibway said staff in Duluth will closely monitor the casino to guard against any underage drinking, just as they do at Black Bear.
“We know we’ll need to be vigilant,” he said.
Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson said the city has taken no position on the change in the casino’s minimum age policy at this point.
“We’ve been dealing with a number of other legal matters related to the casino, but their switching the age limit from 21 to 18 is not something we’ve evaluated or spent a lot of time considering,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Fond du Lac Band and the city of Duluth continue to engage in a legal battle over whether the city is entitled to a cut of casino revenues.
Duluth City Councilor Garry Krause said he is concerned by the idea of more young people being exposed to gambling before they’re equipped to behave responsibly.
“I’ve seen families destroyed when someone picks up a bad habit and starts ringing up debt,” he said.