Alabama Real Money Online Gambling
Alabama is a rather odd state, as on the one hand they are among the most gambling unfriendly states in the country, and on the other hand, they have allowed slot machines to be operated on non-tribal lands for years now. They even have a racino that is breaking the law by offering slots and continues to stand against it in defiance, although only because the cops continue to stay away.
There’s no real appetite by the state to loosen up what are one of the tightest and comprehensive laws against gambling in the country, and they are not very likely to start looking the other way more than they already do, and this may even go the other way and see them clamp down more.
There’s always Alabama’s 3 Indian casinos, which may only offer slots, but the venues are of a high quality and serve as modern oases within a gambling desert. For those who want more, there is a whole world out there to be discovered as long as you have the right guide.
History of Gambling in Alabama
Alabama wasn’t a state that has been very open to gambling throughout its history, and didn’t just make it officially illegal in 1901, they made all forms of gambling illegal by way of an amendment to the state constitution, to make it harder for future governments whose hearts may warm up to gambling a little to change these laws.
A constitution is supposed to be reserved for matters of great importance and should never be used to look to codify laws based upon the most specious of justification like gambling laws. This would be akin to banning people eating potato chips because people don’t think we should be eating such things, and then putting eating potato chips into the state constitution.
There are various means that we can entertain ourselves, by watching TV, a movie, reading a book, playing a game, playing a game for money, and so on. Opinions on the merit of this various entertainment will differ, and there may be certain forms of entertainment that we do have grounds to seek to prohibit, the Lions vs. the Christians for instance, or perhaps things like cock fighting, but the basis of this action isn’t that we object to people getting entertained by this, it is that real harm is caused by it.
The mere fact that the majority doesn’t like a form of entertainment like gambling isn’t even an objective criterion, let alone one substantial enough to form a basis for prohibition, for putting people in jail just for playing a game where all participants consent. Alabama, like many states, do not understand this, and continue to use the force of law to enforce mere matters of opinion where one side without real standing demands that their entertainment preferences are enforced.
This remains the prevailing view in Alabama all these years later, in spite of a few minor concessions. At least they can brag that they have charitable bingo now, which wasn’t the case until 1980. They did add pari-mutuel dog racing a few years later, and while the dog races are long gone now, they still have simulcast wagering at the state’s only track.
Then the Indians started opening up casinos in Alabama, and although the state objected, this was not their decision to make. The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act took precedence to Alabama’s preferences here, and we now have 3 Class II Indian casinos in the state.
Alabama did manage to push back hard enough to get the Indians to agree to the Class II license, where they can only offer slot machines and not table games or poker. No one really knows why states like Alabama prefer slots over table games, where the latter are seen as more intolerable, but the view remains and only slots are allowed in Alabama.
The only place you can gamble in Alabama off the reservation is at VictoryLand, which is a racetrack that no longer holds races but does offer simulcast wagering and as well as slot machines. VictoryLand started out its life by defying Alabama law preventing them from operating bingo machines, in opposition to state authorities who formed a task force and shut down various operations.
This included VictoryLand, who in 2012 which saw all of their 1,615 gambling machines seized, $263,106 of cash seized, and criminal charges brought. A judge in 2015 dismissed the forfeiture on the basis that this law wasn’t consistently enforced, with several other operations of a similar nature being allowed to operate.
VictoryLand survived, although a 2020 decision by the Alabama Supreme Court invaliding the previous decision based upon the illegality of the slot machines themselves ,and requesting that they be shut down, now hangs over VictoryLand’s head. This decision is the correct one, because the existence of similar illegal acts elsewhere cannot legitimize the action.
Alabama Gambling Laws
Alabama’s gambling law makes it a crime to bet anything of value on games of chance or on any contingent event “not under his control or influence,” where something of value changes hands as a result.
The definition of chance is set out as any game or contest where “the outcome depends to a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that the skill of the participants may also be a factor therein.” This is very skillfully written, by focusing on outcomes to more clearly define the applicability of the elements of both chance and skill, where if the outcome is influenced by chance, it falls within this definition.
The second part of this law, the part about also including bets that are not under the player’s control or influence, is a very interesting one. While betting on sports is often left out of the gambling laws of a state by way of oversight, Alabama does not commit this mistake and this is an ingenious provision that eliminates any doubt about whether sports betting in general is included.
When you bet on sports, provided that you are not one of the participants in the sporting contest, the outcome is not under your control or influence in any way. Perhaps if you bribed one of the players or the officials, you could escape this net, although this would run afoul of other laws.
This does to make it legal to bet on yourself as a participant though, at games that do not depend upon chance such as a pool match. Alabama doesn’t include bona fide contests of skill in their exemptions, but they don’t have to as they don’t fit their definition of illegal gambling in the first place.
Some states throw in exemptions such as bona fide contracts, securities trading, and insurance arrangements, where there is no need to do so since they are well outside the scope of the general prohibitions, but Alabama’s law is quirky enough to at least serve as a better excuse for including them than other states could claim.
We would shudder to think that the authorities in Alabama, as opposed to gambling as they may be, would ever consider arresting people for gambling for buying stocks or insurance. Alabama takes no chances though and felt the need to specifically allow them as exemptions.
Both are actually under our sphere of influence, and as we do not have any control over the price of securities, we certainly do have a lot of control over the outcome of the transaction, the degree that it ends up in our favor or otherwise, by timing our entries and exits. We can also exert influence over indemnity outcomes, for instance protecting your home to lessen the risk of a fire or burglary.
The inclusion of “bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts” adds nothing to the law, like it never does. If what is being contracted is legal, the contract is valid, and if not, it is invalid, but this does not speak at all to the question of whether it is legal or not.
At best, this just says that if something is otherwise against the law, it is illegal to engage in a contract with it, which is true with or without this inclusion. This even leaves open the door to the argument that should a contract to gamble be agreed upon, it therefore should be excluded, unless you assume gambling is not a legitimate business transaction, which is what we are trying to determine.
Alabama also exempts social gambling, where only the participants benefit, where if the gambling is shown to be social and conducted in a private place, this is a defense. This also shuts out the opportunity for social gambling in public.
Land-Based Gambling in Alabama
Even with the Indian casinos, there isn’t much land-based gambling to be had in Alabama these days, although they do have a racino of sorts to go along with them, for now anyway. VictoryLand once offered dog racing but that ended in 2011. They also used to have a huge bingo machine parlor with 7,000 machines and a 300 hotel.
The hotel is gone, and all that is left is a scaled down casino floor and pari-mutuel betting on dog and horse races held in other states. Slots on non-tribal lands are on the endangered list now though, as the courts have reversed the decision that allowed VictoryLand to get their seized slots back and they risk having them taken away again now.
To go along with this, the Poarch Creek Indian tribe of Alabama have 3 tribal casinos in operation. These are not just small, rustic looking out of the way Indian casinos, these are modern casino hotels.
The Wind Creek Casino Hotel Montgomery has 2,200 slot machines, along with a 115 room hotel, 3 restaurants, a blues club, and a golf course. The Wind Creek Casino Wetumpka has 2,500 slot machines located within a 20 story hotel with 283 rooms, 5 restaurants, and a 16,000 gallon shark tank. The Wind Creek Casino and Resort is the centerpiece of the operation, with 1,600 slots, a 17 story luxury hotel with 236 rooms, 6 restaurants, an amphitheater, a movie theater, an arcade, and a bowling alley.
Alabama is by no means a hotbed of casino gambling, and they do limit you to slots only, but these three casino hotels at least deliver high quality gambling experiences to Alabamans who crave the excitement of land-based slots.
You can also play charity bingo and partake in all the social gambling you want, and this puts Alabama ahead of several states that do not allow social gambling. Some do not even allow charity bingo. This is not Nevada by any means, but things certainly could be worse as far as land-based gambling in Alabama goes.
Alabama Online Casinos & Slots Gambling
Online daily fantasy wagering is legal under Alabama law, as it is a pure game of skill where bettors certainly do affect the outcome. That’s as excluded as things get, and anyone claiming to the contrary would be demonstrating their misunderstanding of the law.
When state Attorney General Luther Strange provided his opinion that daily fantasy sports are illegal in Alabama, he must have just assumed this without checking, where the ruling becomes simply an attempt at propaganda with the hope that it will just be believed and not verified or challenged.
This actually worked though as it scared away the providers. The intent here was not to see these claims adjudicated but to instead be a tool of intimidation, and providers aren’t fussy of the threat of legal challenges even when they are in the right.
Maybe the authors of Alabama’s anti-gambling laws did not consider the fact that such contests of skill would not be prohibited, but we can only look to the law itself and are not entitled to interpret it in a distorted manner or especially to not even consider it and just make things up instead as was the case with this example.
If a state is willing to ignore the law in order to stop people entering contests based upon building a fantasy sports team, they surely won’t be up for allowing real sports betting online, or any sort of betting online, given that daily fantasy sports is not even betting.
When you have a combination of a state being strongly opposed to online gambling together with it being clearly illegal under Alabama law, it might appear that we are pretty stuck. Casino and poker betting have elements of their chance in their outcomes, and we don’t have any influence over the sports games we bet on, so that’s against the law as well.
Alabama’s law focuses on betting specifically, as opposed to the gambling itself which may or may not be understood as happening in Alabama. If you place a bet in Alabama, the placing of the bet happened in Alabama, and therefore within the purview of Alabama law. You place such a bet, and you have broken the law. Now what?
The State of Alabama doesn’t have an army of people spying on your online activity, perhaps creating a worm infecting all of the people in the state and installing spyware that could somehow be used to view your activities at offshore gambling sites. States aren’t even allowed to try, even if this were possible. They couldn’t even tell if you were playing with real or play money even if they could do this. The chance of the state of Alabama becoming aware that you are gambling at real money online sites located outside the country is zero.
This is not the case if you are gambling on the physical plane, which risks getting caught at least theoretically. Alabama prohibits commercial gambling and it’s hard to keep that all that much under wraps. People think playing at an underground casino in Alabama and playing at one online are similar, but you can get caught at a land-based casino but not at one that resides in the digital realm.
We need to keep this fact well in mind when we ponder what the ramifications of it being against Alabama law to gamble online for real money in Alabama, where we may still wish to abide by this law as a matter of principle but need to understand that there are no practical considerations involved here.
There is a whole world out there where Alabamans can bet on their favorite sports, play real money poker anytime they wish, and gamble at their favorite real money online casino games as well. They don’t need Alabama to change their laws to be able to do this, all they need is to realize that all they need is the will and the right guidance to no longer need to wait.
Future of Gambling in Alabama
Alabama may be a state that moves in the wrong direction as far as permitting more gambling goes, and they may soon be down to bingo and their three Indian slot casinos. Alabama does not even have a lottery, and these are the only places that you can gamble at, so there’s not much to lose that is in the control of the state at least.
Alabama has at least shown us that there is an element in the state that is prepared to look the other way in certain circumstances, like their tolerating bingo machines for a while until they chose to crack down more on them. These were never legal and still aren’t, and VictoryLand continues to offer real slot machines in violation of the law, although no one knows how much longer that will go on for.
In spite of Alabama authorities flexing their muscles from time to time, they certainly could have cracked down more, and their relative hesitancy does at least suggest that there is a will of some sort to allow more gambling in this state. It would take a lot of political will and a referendum to actually change these laws, but we can accomplish a similar result by just not enforcing existing laws.
The court ruling in 2015 which let VictoryLand off the hook due to what was essentially a technicality could have been easily dealt with at the time if state authorities had the appetite to do it, to just shut down them all at once and remove the claim that they were not acting consistently which the judgment was based upon. They didn’t though, and they may not this time either. The Sheriff wasn’t at the door when this decision went down, and they might not seek to shut down VictoryLand’s slots again, so this is not like a conviction, at least yet.
One of the nice things about land-based gambling is that people actually work there, local folks, who lose their job when a place gets shut down. There is also the possibility that some of the people charged to enforce these laws may enjoy the place themselves and not want to deprive themselves of the experience.
We could see more of that perhaps, a gradual easing where authorities choose to show their greater tolerance though ignorance, much like we saw during the golden era of gambling prohibition in many places. The prospects for more land-based gambling in Alabama are pretty slim though, at least while the common view remains considerably opposed to it.
As far as the prospects for online gambling go, there are few states as opposed to such a thing as Alabama, a state where even the lottery has failed to be approved. We need to ask ourselves if such a thing even matters though.
It would be nice if Alabama rolled out all the real money online gambling that people in their state want, so they could gamble with their credit cards and their online wallets again like the good old days before the UIGEA scared these payment processors away. Make no mistake though, real money online gambling was against the back then as it is today and will probably be for a few years at least. What does this really mean though?
The Alabama government probably has no idea how much their residents gamble online, as this data is held on servers in other countries. Real money online gambling sites pay attention to these things for the purposes of measuring certain markets, and the U.S. market is still a huge one. These sites aren’t about to ever share privileged information with the state of Alabama, and don’t care a whit about the state but should we as players?
The easiest way to understand the world of real money online gambling is that whether it theoretically is to be understood as occurring on the betting side or the gaming side of internet connections, for practical purposes, it all happens on the gaming side, because that’s where all the records are kept.
The only way that the state of Alabama can gather information to prosecute people gambling online in their state was to gain access to gambling records held by private companies that they are not even entitled to ask for, not that these companies would do anything but laugh at them if they did ask. Online gambling laws are therefore meaningless, and exist in word only and have no power of enforcement.
A lot of gamblers consider what gambling that they do online as their own business, and as it turns out, it is their own business. If you see it that way as well, we can show you some great places that take players from Alabama, where can gamble to your heart’s content right now at whatever games you wish, well beyond the prying eyes of anyone.
Alabama Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
How does Alabama rank among states as far as their tolerance for gambling goes?
Alabama is in the Deep South, where gambling has traditionally been viewed with considerable disdain among the majority. They are true to form, and are one of just 4 states that have not made it even to the lottery stage let. They were forced by their Indian tribes to tolerate 3 tribal casinos, and while they do have a racetrack that offers simulcast betting as well as slots, the slots are illegal and may go away. Gambling has a lot to grow here.
What does Alabama’s legal gambling timeline look like?
Up until the 1980’s, no gambling was permitted in Alabama. The 1980s were a decade of great change as far as Alabama gambling goes, where they opened the bidding with legal charity bingo, relented on betting on dog racing, and tolerated the state’s 3 tribal casinos that popped up once the federal government used their legal authority to permit federally recognized Indian tribes to build casinos on their land, whether the state liked it or not.
What does Alabama’s gambling laws prohibit?
States generally strive to make all forms of real money gambling illegal unless otherwise permitted by law, which allows them to exercise full control of what is and is not against the law. Some states mess this up, and in particular, forget that sports betting isn’t a game of chance, but Alabama does a great job at clearly banning all gambling. Bets on games whose outcome depends in any way on chance, or on anything that you do not exercise influence over, covers poker, casino games, and sports betting.
Are there any loopholes in Alabama’s gambling laws?
Often times, lawmakers mess up at least somewhat in trying to write laws that cover gambling. Alabama is not one of these states, and they have one of the best written laws in the entire country as far as its effect in including all gambling forms that they wish to prohibit. The only thing left is being allowed to bet on yourself in contests of skill in which you are a participant. This wouldn’t be a loophole if we could be more sure that the state understands their own law.
How Does Alabama’s laws view real money online gambling?
Alabama laws make the act of betting itself the focus in its law, and it’s easier to demonstrate that the alleged illegal act occurred in Alabama rather than elsewhere than if we made it illegal to play these games. Since it is illegal to bet on poker, casino games, and on sporting events in Alabama, and people playing these games place bets on them while in Alabama, there isn’t even a crack here to suggest you could gamble online without breaking the law.
Can you gamble in private legally in Alabama?
Alabama does make an exception for what is widely considered social gambling, where players play among themselves with no one benefiting other than the players. Alabama’s seemingly staunch opposition to gambling therefore is only concerned with appearances, and in tune with this, they only allow social gambling in private. This actually may bode well with their one day relenting on online gambling since it is also conducted in private.
What land-based gambling options does Alabama have?
Alabama does not have a state lottery, but they do have charity bingo. They also have a former dog racetrack that has been converted into a simulcast operation with a slot area as well, although their offering slots is not in compliance with the law and they risk being shut down again now. Alabama also has 3 tribal casinos, which all offer banks of slots. You can also gamble at home games legally.
What are the prospects of Alabama expanding legal gambling?
Alabama remains pretty intolerant of gambling, and you need a significant level of intolerance to pass up the revenue opportunities and economic benefits of expanding gambling. Any real progress will take a state referendum being passed, and it is the less tolerant public that is behind all of this reluctance. It could be quite a while before we see Alabama open up much more, as minds need to change first.
Can people from Alabama gamble online?
Gambling online is a crime in Alabama, but what that ends up meaning is that this law is left up to the honor system because the state cannot monitor these things. You therefore get to choose for yourself, and many Alabamans choose to travel outside the state to gamble online, by traveling to other countries virtually and enjoying all this world has to offer as far as real money gambling goes.
How can Alabamans discover the best real money gambling sites out there?
Many Alabamans who are new to the world of online gambling might be nervous to venture off by themselves in seeking what they are looking for where real money gambling is concerned. The quality of these sites differ, and while the great majority are safe enough, we just don’t want to be safe, we want to be well taken care of. Some places do that better than others. We can guide you to these places.