Despite being an entire continent away from its closest American neighbor, Alaska still operates under American Federal law and has its own set of state laws as well. This includes laws about gambling, but being so far away from other states means that it is more likely that Alaska will have its own take and now be swayed by what is happening around them. Here is a review of the current state of gambling in Alaska and where it may go in the future.
Sports Betting in Alaska
Alaska falls under the same jurisdiction as the other states when it comes to sports betting. There are no legal in-property sports betting to be found in the state currently, but the repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court in May 2018 changed the entire legal landscape in the U.S., and this includes up north. To date, there has been no discussion of updating the laws to allow sports betting, but keep an eye on this page for any updates.
Online Sports Betting
Being so far away from the rest of the country, you can imagine that there is an emotional attachment to American sports regardless of team. This love of pro and college sports creates an appetite for sports betting, and when you start to include the fact that there is an entire country of sports teams (Canada) in between Alaska and the other states, this appetite is even larger.
Alaskans are able to access sports betting via one of the many illegal online sportsbooks that exist on the market today. These sites are not regulated by the U.S. – in fact, the government has tried many times over the years to shut them down. It is therefore a risky proposition to bet on these websites and we advise to stay away. Residents of Alaska should instead board a plane and go enjoy the casinos of Nevada. Not only can they gamble there but it will allow you to escape the cold climate of Alaska!
Horse Betting in Alaska
Well, this will come as no real surprise to many of you, but there are no horse tracks in Alaska. In fact, there is no live pari-mutuel betting of any kind in the state, which is probably pretty disappointing to residents. While we can understand that the weather would not be conducive to hosting live races, having off-track betting facilities would allow Alaskans to bet on horse races simulcast from around North America. That doesn’t seem appealing enough to the state government to add any legislation, so, for now, it doesn’t look like the status of this topic will change.
Online Horse Betting
So, if you want to bet on a horse race and you live in Alaska, what are you to do? There are many people who live in Alaska that are from other areas of the continent so they may have a predisposition to bet on the ponies. In this case, Alaskans are relegated to using one of the online sites that offer pari-mutuel racing options. These sites, like Twinspires which is owned by Churchill Downs, allow players to register for accounts, make deposits and bets, and then watch races live via streaming. This is good enough for most people, and if you don’t have a credit card to make a deposit, then you can always go buy a prepaid card or use one of the alternative funding methods.
Casino Gambling in Alaska
The clampdown on gambling extends into the casino industry in Alaska. Even though you would think that there would be an appetite for slots and table games in such a remote area, the state has decided to only award Class II licenses to tribal communities. These licenses allow for Bingo and Lottery style games, but not card games or the traditional slot machines you would see in a casino in the Lower 48.
Online Casinos in Alaska
There are a whole host of online casinos, hosted in countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, but these are not legal to play at. As of now, there is no change of laws planned for Alaska so it looks like online casino gambling will remain off limits for residents of the state.
Lottery in Alaska
The hits just keep on coming for Alaska residents. As of the writing of this page, there is no lottery in the state. There are some local raffles that are available, but residents of Alaska are not able to participate in the massive Powerball or Mega Millions jackpots. There has to be a reason the government decided to stay out of the lottery business, and unless something drastic changes in policy, then we imagine it will stay this way in the future.
Alaska Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Alaska?
No, sports betting is illegal in Alaska. There are no professional sports teams in the state to help push this forward, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see a discussion start now that other states are able to legalize sports betting.
When will sports betting be legal in Alaska?
We are very doubtful that there will be a bill tabled to legalize sports betting in the 2019 legislative session. The state has a very conservative view of gambling as a whole, so we think that it is possible that sports betting could take years to penetrate the walls of government, if at all. We would not expect anything to happen in the state until at least 2021.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Alaska?
With no real positive outlook for regulated sports betting in Alaska for at least a couple of years, the best option is to visit Nevada to enjoy sports betting down there. For the time being, it is not possible for Alaska residents to play at online sportsbooks licensed in the state.