Alaska Real Money Gambling Online
Gambling in Alaska has been going on informally for a long time now, even though the state is fairly young as far as states go. There are states that have been in existence for almost a century before Alaska was bought from the Russians, and almost another century before Alaska finally got statehood.
Many states have used gaining statehood as a pulpit to speak out against real money gambling, and while Alaska’s gaining this came during a different era than other states who ended up choosing what was believed to be the more respectable path of barring gambling, even today’s much more permissive climate has not even served to melt Alaska’s misgivings toward it to get it unfrozen from the ice it has been planted in.
It might take longer for ice to melt in Alaska than in other states, but the good news is that the warming that has served to green up the gambling landscape in so many other states now is finally reaching the country’s northernmost state. Alaska’s current gambling scene is about as unexciting as they come, at least as far as officially permitted gambling goes, but things are really starting to look up now, as we will explain.
History of Gambling in Alaska
Alaska has only been a state since 1959, the year that Hawaii also was admitted to the union. Both of these youngest states take a very conservative view toward gambling, even though they are the furthest states apart physically as well as with differences in climate and culture.
While gambling did occur in Alaska to some degree, as you might expect during its prospecting days, once it became a state, one of the first things Alaska did was to shut the door to commercial gambling, by passing a gambling law in 1960.
It turned out that they did permit a certain type of gambling, the gambling that people used to do in saloons and elsewhere during the olden days, with players playing together without the addition of a house interest.
Private games of cards for money therefore never did go anywhere, as this wasn’t against the law when Alaska was a territory and has remained legal throughout its statehood until today. This is another thing that they have in common with Hawaii, as both states have general bans against commercial gambling but allow private gambling.
Neither state have a lottery, both among a handful of states yet not authorize one. Alaska at least has pull tabs and bingo, while Hawaii still awaits its first form of legal commercial gambling although these two forms of gambling comprise the entire scene in Alaska, and are only offered on tribal lands.
Pull tabs are in themselves pretty tame, sold by lotteries generally, only Alaska doesn’t have one. Alaska does not have any commercial gambling period, of any form, other than at their tribal gambling establishments that the state ended up permitting. There are several locations in the state where you can travel to in order to buy pull tabs, the paper kind. It turns out that there is another kind, the electronic version of this, first allowed in 1996, which are actually slot machines.
Just like with the pull tabs, the tribes were given exclusive approval with these slot machines There are 8 tribal locations of sorts where you can gamble, which is not a lot for a state of this size physically, the biggest in the country by far. With most of these, to call them casinos this does require us to stretch the meaning of casino, as some of these locations are only very small over the counter pull tab shops located in isolated communities.
Alaska’s tribes did not reach an agreement to allow Class III casinos, the ones with table games, but they all offer Class II, allowing them to offer bingo and pull tabs, including the two locations with the electronic versions.
It has been a long time since Alaska has made any changes to its real money gambling scene, and you have to go all the way back to 1996 in fact, and have never passed a law permitting any gambling outside of tribal lands, but the winds of change are starting to blow harder lately as Alaska has a bill in play to finally bring the Alaska Lottery to life. With so little gambling available, a lottery would at least bring gambling on something a lot closer to many people in the state.
Alaska is looking to take gambling more than just one step forward with these bills, as proponents of the bills also want to allow their new lottery to allow sports betting as well. Change may come slower to Alaska, but it does eventually come.
Alaska Key Facts
- Abbreviation: AK
- State Motto: North to the Future
- Capital City: Juneau
- Largest City: Anchorage
- Population Estimate: 710,249 (48th)
- Website: alaska.gov
Alaska Gambling Laws
Alaska makes all gambling unlawful, and defines unlawful as not being authorized by law. They leave no question as to whether or not gambling in this state not otherwise authorized is against the law, meaning that all gambling is deemed to be illegal by default.
To the extent that a state wishes to permit certain forms of gambling, they either serve to exclude what they wish to allow by placing it outside the scope of the law, they may let us know about this preference by addressing its permissibility as an exemption, or they may permit future additions by referring the matter to any further amendments to the law that may serve to remove their present illegality.
Alaska does this specifically by only rendering certain gambling acts legal if they are deemed to be legal by way of either existing law or future ones that may be passed to revise a state’s gambling law. While this may seem to go without saying, there are some states whose constitution forbids passing laws enabling gambling, and Alaska isn’t one of them.
While we know at this point that all gambling not made legal is illegal, we also need to know what qualifies as gambling under the definition of Alaskan law. Letting critical terms to a law like how gambling is to be understood lacks the precision that the law must seek, where the goal is to reduce the likelihood of leaving whether an act constitutes gambling to speculation, where different definitions may be applied other than the one the law intends and these definitions will be relied on to apply the law.
Alaska relies on a very effective means of outlawing real money gambling, one that several other states use in similar forms which leaves no doubt as to whether the sort of gambling that the state wishes to prohibit is included. Alaska makes it against the law to wager on outcomes where chance plays a role or on “the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence.”
In case people were wondering about what role chance needs to play to be deemed a contest of chance, Alaska law defines chance as where “the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding the skill of the contestants may also be a factor.”
So whenever the outcome relies on chance in any way, it is gambling in Alaska. This means both casino games, which rely on chance entirely or substantially, and poker, which relies on it to some degree, both involve gambling. Sports betting would involve betting on a contingent event not under one’s influence, as would the other two forms as well, so this successfully traps all 3 forms of gambling in their definition of it.
This serves to make betting at casino games and poker as well as betting on sporting or other events where you have no control over the outcome against the law, because if something is understood as gambling, and isn’t otherwise legal, it is deemed illegal.
We already know, without the need of any exception, that betting on contests of skill without any element of chance that the bettor does have an influence on the outcome of their bets would be outside the definition of gambling in Alaska, even though common usage would normally understand it as a form of gambling. This is one of the reasons why the law benefits from clarity to convey the message that the law was intended to convey.
This also would include contests of skill such as fantasy sports contests where players pay entry fees and the outcome gets decided based upon how their selections compare to others. There is no chance involved, and the bettors certainly do influence the outcomes by way of how good their picks end up being.
Aside from looking to exclude activities that would not normally be considered as gambling, even though they may fit the definition per se, in addition to amusement games where a replay is the only reward, they also create a specific exemption for social gambling, where it is a defense to gambling if “the player was a participant in a social game.” Alaska uses the standard definition of social gambling used in several other states, where no one benefits from the game other than the participants and only may benefit by way of their winnings.
We are left with all gambling being prohibited in Alaska other than wagering on contests of skill that you participate in and engaging in social gambling. Whatever else is to be added is at the pleasure of the state legislature, by way of specific authorization, which we are still waiting for in any form, although help may be soon on the way.
Land-Based Gambling in Alaska
Commercial land-based gambling in Alaska is very sparse. There are only a total of 8 places in the states to gamble at anything at, all of them tribal run establishments, and there’s not a whole lot of gambling at any of them. Given Alaska’s reluctance toward gambling in general, it wasn’t surprising that the state’s tribes were forced to settle for the lesser of the two types of gaming licenses, and only a smattering of it at that.
The biggest gambling venue in the state is the MIC Gaming Hall, where 90 of Alaska’s 92 electronic pull tab machines are located, which they also call electronic bingo or instant bingo, although these are genuine slot machines, the ones with the spinning reels.
Pull tabs at least look like what you see on slot machines, with the cherries and other symbols on them, and although it’s harder to figure why anyone would refer to them as bingo machines of any sort, they are indeed like pull tabs on turbo speed.
The Klawock Ira Pull Tab Shoppe is the only other location in the state to offer slot machines. The name suggests that they only offer pull tabs, and that’s a big part of their business, but their 2 slot machines and their bingo games allow the Klawock to offer the full range of ways to gamble in Alaska at the present time.
The Atka Ira Council Pull Tabs also has a 4 room hotel to go with its pull tabs, although pull tabs is all they offer. The Native Village of Barrow Pull tabs has another pure pull tab shop. You can also buy them at Agate Pull Tabs at a tribal-run store in the village.
Alaska’s tribes also operate 3 stand-alone bingo halls, Kake Tribal Heritage Bingo, Sitka Tribal Bingo, and Juneau Tlingit and Haida Tribal Bingo. These bingo halls offer bingo games several nights per week.
In addition to this, Alaskans can engage in all the private gambling that they wish, without restriction, provided that no one rakes any pots other than the players. As conservative as Alaska may be toward gambling, and you don’t get much more conservative toward commercial gambling than Alaska is, not allowing any of it on the lands that they have domain over, they are not opposed at all to players gambling it up in private among themselves.
There is talk of the lottery coming soon to this state, and there are two bills out there that are both looking to make the lottery finally a reality in Alaska, and when getting a state lottery is a big deal, you don’t have much, but it’s a big deal in Alaska.
If sports betting gets added to this, as it is planned to be, this will really open up land-based gambling in the state, especially since it is planned to be run by the state lottery which will ensure that it will have a much better reach than the few tribal locations now offer.
List of Land Based Casinos in Alaska
Casino Address Phone MIC Gaming Hall Western Ave, Metlakatla, AK 99926 907-886-4255 Klawock IRA Pull Tabs 407 Bayview Blvd, Klawock, AK 99925 907-755-4807 Juneau Tlingit and Haida Tribal Bingo 320 W Willoughby Ave, Juneau, AK 99801 907-586-1432
Alaska Online Casinos & Slots Gambling
It should not surprise us that a state that has never passed a law permitting any gambling other than not prosecuting their Indian tribes for selling pull-tabs and offering bingo games would have much in the way of regulated online gambling, any regulated online gambling in fact.
Alaska has much progress to make before they ever get to even consider licensing real money online gambling sites of any sort. Even though it is quite possible that the state may take a giant leap forward in gambling permissiveness by creating their first lottery which would also offer sports betting, joining the growing number of states that have authorized some form of it requires a separate big leap, and they are still working out the kinks in making their first jump.
There’s no doubt though that the view toward commercial gambling in Alaska is finally changing. If not for the federal government taking away the state’s say in whether or not tribes can offer gaming on their lands, Alaska would still be waiting for its first commercial gambling to this day, but this may not last very much longer.
The prospects of an expanded lottery being born out of Alaska’s current attempt to legalize one, where a state lottery branches out to offer more than just the lottery, moving into the world of casino gambling, does at least bode well for this changing in the near future.
There are several benefits to a state to have their lottery oversee at least certain forms of other gambling, especially if you are concerned about being able to regulate it sufficiency well and without difficulty. When the state both regulates gambling and offers it, this gives the state, through their lottery, total control over the process.
You do end up with a monopoly, but being subject to a monopoly is surely preferable than not being subject to anything. If Alaska can go from nothing to a lot more gambling being offered by one provider, the lottery or otherwise, this is a big step forward. This is like only having a single store in town compared to when you did not have any.
Offering sports betting, the one that is packaged together with the lottery, shows that Alaska isn’t that opposed to sports betting, and people can already place sports bets among themselves legally. Once they get to that point, it’s only a fairly small step to get to online sports betting, which is the kind that makes the most sense given how sparse Alaska’s population is.
Real money online poker and real money casino games seem further out, since they are not forms of gambling that are being considered to be allowed at the present time. Going from no state authorized gambling to the pinnacle of gambling permissibility, online gambling, requires a much bigger change in attitudes than we normally see in states, since the divide between the two is so great.
The fact that Alaska does not regulate any real money online gambling at present does not mean that Alaskans do not have access to regulated online gambling sites. The people who think this confuse online gambling with land-based gambling, where states do get to make the rules and have a monopoly on gambling regulation.
Alaska doesn’t regulate gambling in other countries though, and these other jurisdictions get to make the rules for their own gambling sites, with regulatory bodies outside Alaska providing the oversight instead. When you go online, you travel to a place that is outside of physical boundaries and well beyond the reach of regulation at the player level.
States may regulate both operators and players by prescribing the rules and means that gambling is permitted, and may punish both for breaking their rules. States do not have the means or authority to regulate foreign operators, and while they may have jurisdiction over players in their state who gamble at these real money offshore sites, jurisdiction is only one of the requirements of legal force, as this also requires both the will and the means to regulate.
Alaska might want to keep their people from gambling online at these real money sports betting, poker, and casino sites located elsewhere, but no one has the means to do this and must rely on the satisfaction in itself of obeying the law to obtain compliance, where people comply or not at their own discretion when there are no consequences involved.
While there are benefits to having your own state regulate the online gambling that you wish to play, such things as creating a greater level of comfort as well as opening up a lot more deposit and withdrawal options than Alaskans currently enjoy at offshore online gambling sites, you can only compare Alaskan regulated real money online gambling to that offered elsewhere when both exist.
While we wait for Alaskan approved online gambling to come into existence, there are a world of options out there available right now for Alaskans to enjoy any form of real money online gambling that they wish without needing permission from anyone.
- Washington DC Online Casinos for Real Money
- Vermont Online Casinos for Real Money
- Wyoming Online Casinos for Real Money
- California Online Casinos for Real Money
Future of Gambling in Alaska
There’s certainly lots of room for improvement in a state that has only a limited amount of real money gambling at a few remote locations. Indian casinos are often located well away from the population, but Alaska’s are so remote that they are in a class by themselves.
Alaska is basically starting from scratch from here and anything that they may add would be a big improvement over virtually nothing. It is worth noting though that Alaska having a long history of private gambling as well as explicitly making this legal in its gambling laws, that the issue that is holding Alaska back isn’t that they are opposed to gambling itself, and this makes moving forward easier once the state chooses to.
Alaska is on the brink of making such a change, as the state is considering passing their first law permitting gambling, a state lottery that will be permitted to offer both lottery games and sports betting. This may also create some real momentum for the state to expand the scope of their permitted gambling to other forms as well, including offering it online.
Allowing land-based gambling in or near to one of their larger cities would in itself greatly expand the level of service of the gambling market in the state. In particular, Metro Anchorage with its 374,000 people, over half of the state’s population, could support far more than the 92 slot machines in the state currently, and the domestic population of Alaska could be well served by just a few strategically placed commercial casinos if and when the state ever gets around to entertaining the idea.
This will take the state to open its minds to this more than they have been willing to thus far. The Indians serve the gambling market of some other states quite well, but Alaska’s tribes do not have the means no matter what you allowed them to offer given their isolation. The task of looking to serve the state’s land-based gambling market therefore falls upon the state, when one day they may choose to enrich their people by increasing their entertainment and economic success, as well as the success of the state as a whole.
It is completely rational to not want to restrict gambling if your goal is to promote the overall welfare of your people. Restricting or prohibiting it causes a reduction in happiness among the people, and passes up on both greater economic activity in your state as well as higher tax revenues as well.
We are seeing a gambling revival around the country generally lately, where states are actually looking at both the benefits and the concerns of opening up the gambling market, and when weighed against one another, the permissive side is being seen to come out ahead more and more as time passes.
Alaska has not taken a practical approach to this yet and have held fast to whatever concerns that are preventing them from stepping aside and letting the market decide, as they do with other industries, but the momentum elsewhere is starting to stir Alaska out of its long slumber on this issue.
Alaska has yet to wake up for the first time, but now seems much more ready. Those who long for a real land-based casino close to home may have to wait for a fair bit yet, but at least those who have been waiting to gamble online all they wish should have the idea that there is nothing stopping them from doing this right now serve to open their eyes sufficiently.
Those who wish to step out into the world of real money online gambling only need an internet connection, a little money to play with, and the knowledge of the best places to play that take Alaskans. You provide the first two and we’ll take care of you as far as where to start enjoying your newfound freedom. You’re free to try out our top recommended sites to your heart’s content.
Alaska Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
What does Alaska law say about gambling?
Alaska gambling law successfully prohibits all forms of gambling by simply making it against the law to wager on outcomes that either rely on chance to some material degree or are subject to contingencies that are beyond the player’s sphere of influence. Both poker and casino games rely on chance to some material degree, even though poker may be considered more of a game of skill. Sports betting is definitely a bet based upon an outcome not under one’s control.
Does Alaska allow social gambling?
Social gambling, where only the players participate in the gambling with no one raking or banking the games, would definitely be against the law if not for the fact that it is specifically mentioned as an exemption. Social gambling has always gone on in Alaska, which continues to be the case today due to this form of gambling not being considered to be within the scope of Alaska’s gambling prohibitions.
What sort of bets can Alaskans make among themselves legally?
Real money poker has always been the most popular form of social gambling, gambling where only the players are involved in the game with no one having an advantage over other players. The only difference between social and commercial poker is that with commercial poker the house rakes pots. Players may also play other card games for money, and place sports bets or bets on anything between themselves. Casino games aren’t allowed because they involve the games being banked by someone with a house edge, like the dealer in blackjack.
What does Alaskan gambling law tell us about the state’s view of gambling?
The fact that there has always been legal gambling in Alaska and that the state did not see fit to ban it all when they rolled out their real money gambling laws right after it became a state does tell us that the opposition to it does not run as deep as in some places of the country. South Carolina, for instance, does not even allow people to play gambling games with play money. Alaska is clearly only opposed to certain forms of gambling, even though this includes all public gambling.
Why might Alaska be so opposed to public gambling?
Sometimes a state bans public gambling because they are perceive players to be taken advantage of in playing against the house. The state simply objects to third party interests making money off of this, and this can even include the state itself. There’s also the desire to not have gambling in public view that will cause a state to allow private but not public gambling, where it exists but is out of sight and presumably out of mind.
Does Alaska have tribal gaming?
The state of Alaska was at the forefront of allowing Indian gaming as they started allowing their tribes to sell pull tabs and run bingo halls as far back as 1984. The law that has caused the explosion of Indian gaming that we saw in the 1990’s until today wasn’t even passed until 4 years later. Alaska eventually allowed them to add slot machines, and now has 2 of them that do, 3 that just sell pull tabs, and 3 bingo halls.
Why does tribal gaming have such a very small footprint in Alaska?
There are a number of states that only have tribal gaming, and given that these can only be set up on tribal lands, their location becomes important if they are to serve the state’s casino market. While reservations are generally located away from higher population areas, they generally aren’t too far away to keep people away too much. Alaska’s tribes are very remotely located though and are only really set up to serve the local natives.
Does Alaska have any other gambling besides tribal gaming?
Aside from social gambling and the state’s 8 tribal gaming locations, Alaska is completely barren at the present time when it comes to legal gambling. The tribal lands aren’t even under their jurisdiction, so this means that Alaska doesn’t allow public gambling anywhere on their own lands. There are no casinos, pari-mutuel racetracks, or even a lottery. However, a lottery may be finally on the way, and one that even offers betting on sports.
What are the prospects of Alaska opening up their gambling scene soon?
After over 60 years of statehood without a single form of public gambling legalized, things are finally staring to come around in Alaska recently. Lotteries provide the state revenue, and this is starting to look tempting enough for Alaska to not only finally get ready to seriously consider a state lottery, and they are even seeking to pass a bill that allows the Alaska Lottery to offer sports betting. Once this arrives, this may serve to shake up the scene even more.
Can Alaskans gamble online for real money?
Alaska is not a state that either has online gambling or is on the way to allowing it, and it could be some time before they agree to license and regulate it. While it is against the law in Alaska to play real money online poker and casino games, as well as bet on sports online, there just isn’t any way for anyone to catch you doing this, so many players choose to do it anyway. Those who do are welcome to take advantage of our expert recommendations of the best real online gambling sites that accept Alaskans.