Alaskas Sports Betting and Gambling Laws

Alaska Gambling LawsGambling Laws in Alaska are very restrictive. The few opportunities that do exist in Alaska include some interesting quirks; charity betting on ‘Dog Mushing’ contests, and the ‘pull-tab games’ which are paper-based-lottery-cards.

Unfortunately, in Alaska, there no heroics of state legislators trying to update the law, resurrecting past glories and introducing online sports betting, online casinos and forms of gambling online. Things have always been tough for gambling advocates in Alaska.

Please see the table below for the ‘state-of-play’ on sports betting, gambling online in Alaska etc.

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports (DFS) N/A yes
eSports No No
Poker No No
Horse Racing (Dog Mushing only) Yes No
Lottery No No
Charitable Gambling Yes No

Alaska Gambling Tax Rate

In Alaska, there is a 5% sales tax on the sale of pull-tabs.

Alaska Gambling Age

Gambling Type Age
DFS 18
Pull-Tabs 21
Bingo 19
Charitable Gambling 19

 

Alaska Sports Betting Legislation

The only way open to skirt Alaska’s strict sports betting laws banning most types of sports betting is via the charity gaming laws which allow for some quirky bet types such as when the first crane of Summer will arrive, how many cans of salmon will pass through a port during fishing season or on the timing of dog mushing in the State.

Sports Betting in Alaska

Alaska has no land-based racetracks or sportbooks. The closest thing to race or sports betting in Alaska you can find in Alaska is a charity gambling opportunity. The charity gambling opportunity usually consists of betting on a fishing contest or guessing the correct finishing time of a ‘dog mushing race’. The closest guess usually wins a prize, and the profits of the event must go to charity.
Being a sports bookmaker in Alaska is illegal and, with the lack of any tracks, there are probably not too many people aspiring to the role.

Sports Betting Online

Sports Betting Online is currently prohibited in Alaska and even horse-betting online is unavailable to residents, and visitors to Alaska.

The outstanding exemption to the online gambling laws in Alaska are Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). This is a clear example that the sports betting laws in Alaska consider contests wherein application of skill-and-knowledge is required to achieve desirable outcomes, as legal.

Casinos in Alaska

In its history, Alaska has not experienced a revenue crunch that has made it seriously consider gambling as a way to raise state tax revenues. This is why there are few legal ways to bet in the state and why there are no licensed commercial casinos in the state of Alaska and only a few Tribal Casinos.

Alaska Land-based Casinos

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 permits tribes to operate the same forms of gambling that are legal in Alaska without any legal requirement to create a compact. As a result, most tribes offer bingo, pull-tabs, or similar games and are not required to set aside any winnings for charitable purposes. Many of these Tribal-operated establishments like to call themselves ‘Alaska casinos’, but offer only the most-basic-of-games and none of the casino game staples such as poker, blackjack and roulette.

Online Casinos in Alaska

In Alaska, there are no specific online casino laws relating specifically to the legal status of casinos online, although casino gambling is banned and the assumption in Alaska, is that under State Law, those laws are assumed to cover online gambling as well.

Without any online casino laws in Alaska, there has never been any recorded instances of individuals indicted for gambling online. On the other hand, nor has there ever been any debate on the topic at all by the Alaskan State Legislature.

Given the lack of any laws affirming online gambling to be fully 100% legal, we advise all potential online casino players in Alaska to obey implicit laws that online casinos are considered illegal until full legalization occurs in the state.

Avoid using ANY online casinos (US-based or Offshore) in Alaska for the time being.

With the sole exception of legal DFS games, online gambling looks like it will remain a limited option in Alaska for some time. When the Alaskan State Government requires to raise more State revenue to pay for the States infrastructure and services, expect that situation to change.

Horse Racing Betting in Alaska

Horse Racing Betting is considered to be illegal in the state of Alaska (no horse racing or greyhound racing tracks exist in the state) for all visitors to, and residents of the state of Alaska.

As noted in the ‘Alaska Sports Betting Legislation’ section, the only wagering on racing is on dog mushing races (both distance mushers and spring mushers) across the state. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race has been held annually in Alaska since 1973, raising the profile of the sport not only on the state level, but nationally and internationally. Mushers come to Alaska from all corners of the planet each March for the Iditarod, and now even for the longest distance dog sled race of the year, the 1000-mile Yukon Quest International Dog Sled Race run each February.

Track Side: There are no horse racing or greyhound racing track facilities in the Alaskan state area.

Off Track Betting (OTB): Off track betting bureaus (OTBs) are not allowed in Alaska. There are carve outs for charitable betting on dog sled races in the Alaskan laws on how fast your favorite dog sledding team completes the course. Licenses for this type of gambling are issued by the Alaskan State Tax Authority under strict guidelines.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Alaska

There are no horse racing or greyhound racing online betting options available in Alaska.

Alaska’s Daily Fantasy Sports Laws

Federal U.S. lawmakers have decided that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are exempt from any Federal gambling bans. At the Federal level at least, DFS is determined to be contest of skill, rather than a gambling game of random chance.

It seems that Alaskan State Authorities at least agree with their Federal colleagues on the legal status of DFS. As stated above in the ‘Sports Betting Online’ section, DFS can be seen to be the one area where Alaskans can gamble safely online without fear of indictment. Without any specific laws existing in Alaska allowing (or disallowing) DFS, it is evident that Alaskan lawmakers have also decided DFS games of skill and consequently, are not subject to the force of Alaska’s strict gambling laws.

As a result, major DFS sites all accept players resident in and visitors to, the state of Alaska for real money contests.

What is DFS?

To understand what DFS is, it is first required to understand the ‘original’ fantasy sports version that has been around a lot longer.

A fantasy sport is a game where participants assemble ‘virtual’ teams using real players of different professional sports teams. Using the NFL example, you’d draft a team consisting of one quarterback from New England’s team, a running back from Green Bay, a wide receiver from Denver’s team, etc.

Other players in your league do the same thing, and then your teams compete against each other. Points are assigned to certain actions — a quarterback throwing a touchdown is 6 points, or a wide receiver would net your team one point per catch he had in each game. At the end of all the games, you add up all of your players’ points, and whichever team has the highest score, wins the contest.

Traditional fantasy sports have typically occurred over an entire season. In September, you and your friends would draft teams, and you wouldn’t find out who won until the season is over in January. It has also meant you are stuck with the same players you draft at the beginning of the season, unless someone in your league wants to trade a player with you.

DFS, on the other hand, (the name is the giveaway), doesn’t last a whole season. It lasts one competitive day; You draft your players in the morning, and by the time the games are over in the afternoon or evening, you will know who won the competition.

While regular fantasy sports typically focused on playing year-after-year in a league with your work colleagues and friends, DFS is usually played more online with random competitors you’re matched against.

There’s also a big money factor. Major DFS leagues on sites can comprise literally hundreds of thousands of competitors, each paying a few dollars to enter. Of course, that means that the winner of a DFS competition can end up winning millions of dollars in cash prizes.

All of the major professional sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB & NHL) have concurrent DFS leagues. Note, in many states, college and other amateur sports are exempt from DFS competitions.

Poker Laws in Alaska

There is some limited good news regarding poker laws in Alaska – Home poker games are tolerated in Alaska, as long as the gambling takes place in one of the player’s homes, no-one acts as a ‘banker’ and no-one takes a cut of the winnings.

Other than that, charity poker, video poker, and online poker games are all deemed illegal under Alaskan State Law. According the interpretation of Alaskan State Gambling Laws, poker is illegal as it deemed to involve some form of random chance. Even Alaska’s Tribal Casinos are not allowed to offer their clients opportunities to play poker.

Online Poker in Alaska

Online poker in Alaska and video poker online are both deemed illegal in the state. For full details, please refer to the above section on ‘Online Casinos in Alaska’.

Developed sports betting markets across the planet offer a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments. With the exception of DFS, Alaskan sports betting and eSports betting is still unavailable. At the time when sports betting finally becomes legal in the state, eSports betting should then become a new and interesting way for Alaskan gamblers to win extra money, and for the Last Frontier State to accumulate additional funds for State Government services.

This raises the question for the uninitiated; ‘What is eSports?’

eSports – short for electronic sports – is the umbrella term for organized, competitive gaming which has exploded in popularity over the past decade. Organized eSports events can bring in up to 40 million viewers in the U.S. alone – that’s a higher viewership than the NBA finals, the World Series or even the Oscars.

There are digital versions of real life sports – like football simulator FIFA. However, most of the top titles are first person shooters or multiplayer fantasy games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike and League-of-Legends.

Most spectators watch from home but eSports competitions attract tens-of-thousands of people to stadiums across the world, and eSports competitions have been transformed into global betting events with the advent of live streaming technology. Developed sports betting markets across the planet offer a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments through national and international sportsbooks

Watch this site for updates on sports betting to be legalized in Alaska, to take part in legal eSports betting in the state ASAP.

History of Gambling in Alaska

1960 – Bingo first allowed by Alaskan State Legislators as the first form of legal gambling in the state.
1984 – ‘Pull-tabs’ authorized in Alaska.
1993 – Tribal Casinos open in Alabama, with a limited number of raffles, bingos and ‘pull-tabs’ only. Charitable Gaming also legalized in the state.
1995 – For a limited time, gambling on cruise ships was legalized, since abolished.
1996 – The Alaska State Legislature legalizes 3 electronic dog sled racing pull-tab games with the ‘look-and-feel’ of video poker and slots games.

Benefits of Gambling to Alaska

  • Gambling is a viable source of income and provides the state of Alaska with a secondary revenue stream.
  • ‘Future proofing’ of jobs and a secondary jobs employment stream in an economy dependent on fluctuating oil prices.
  • Brings more tourists to Alaska.
  • Opens up jobs and economic prosperity to Native American people.


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