What types of gambling are legal in Alaska?
Alaska has little in the way of legalized gambling. Charities may offer bingo and other numbers games. This permits Alaska Natives to offer the same. Daily fantasy sports sites accept players in the state under the skill gaming exception. This has never been challenged in court and allowed to exist by state government without regulation. There are some odd wildlife betting opportunities, mostly within state fairs or offered by charities.
There are no other forms of legalized gambling in the state. There is a push to bring in a state lottery in recent years. However, it has failed to gain enough support to become reality.
This list shows the types of gambling found in Alaska and where to find it:
- Charitable and Native Alaskan gaming (bingo, raffles, pull-tabs and lotteries)
- Daily fantasy sports (online only)
- Social gaming
- Dog sled races
- Fishing competitions
- Weather events
- Salmon migration
Online Gambling in Alaska
All forms of online gambling are illegal in Alaska. Daily fantasy sports companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo accept players from the state. These sites operate under the premised of being a game of skill. The contests are no regulated in Alaska.
Online Gambling Laws in Alaska
All forms of online gambling are illegal in Alaska under 11.66.200–11.66.280 of the state code. Gambling is defined as risking something of value on a contest of chance or future contingent event with a prize awarded. Players are likely guilty of a misdemeanor. Operators commit a class C felony.
The only land-based casinos in Alaska are on Native Alaskan land. However, these are more like high stakes bingo halls. Gaming devices are illegal in Alaska, even on native land. The closest casinos are in Canada, though some residents prefer to take a flight to Nevada.
Casino Laws in Alaska
Casinos are illegal in Alaska under 11.66.200–11.66.280 of the state code. The state definitions of gambling specifically include the banning of devices like slot and video poker machines, roulette wheels and craps tables.
Alaska Sports Betting
Sports betting is illegal in Alaska. This includes live and online versions.
There appears to be little interest among lawmakers to make legalize sports betting in Alaska. Since the Supreme Court decision, no legislation has been introduced in Alaska to change our gaming laws to allow sports wagers.
Offhore operators that offer sports betting for residents of Alaska do so contrary to state law, but the safety and legality of betting at offshore betting sites is questionable at best and may be against the law.
The best bet, for now, is to stick with what’s legal: daily fantasy sports and games of skill played at reputable websites such as those listed on this page.
Hopefully, Alaskan lawmakers will see the need for change and move to legalize sports betting.
As one of the most anti-gambling states, the odds of legal sports betting coming to Alaska remain low. Perhaps one day we will see legal Alaska sportsbooks and betting sites. It seems that legal sports betting will spread across the contiguous United States before it comes to Alaska.
Alaska Sports Betting Laws
Sports betting falls under the state’s ban on possession of gambling records. Someone commits this crime when accepting sports bets from five or more people and is in operation for more than 30 days or generates $2,000 in revenue on a single day. It is a class A misdemeanor or class C felony on the first offense, depending on the associations involved in the bookmaking.
Live poker in a commercial setting is illegal in Alaska. There is an exception for home poker games.
Poker Laws in Alaska
Poker games in a commercial setting are illegal in Alaska. This is covered under code 11.66.280 in the state.
Home Poker Games
Home poker games are exempted from state gambling laws in Alaska. The game must be fair with no fees paid to the house. Most forms of gambling can fall under this social exception if it is not part of a commercial enterprise.
Alaska Daily Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports are presumed to be legal in Alaska as a game of skill. The attorney general has never opined about it and there have been no court challenges. DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo all accept customers from Alaska.
Fantasy Sports Laws in Alaska
There are no laws covering fantasy sports contests in Alaska. It is presumed to be a game of skill and not of chance, so the activity has been permitted in the state.
There is no Alaska state lottery. Municipalities are permitted to hold these drawings with state permission. However, none ever have. Charities and Native Alaskan groups may also hold lotteries.
Alaska Lottery Laws
Alaska’s state government is not permitted to hold lotteries. A bill in the 2020 legislature hopes to change that. The COVID-19 closures put the plans on hold until the legislature reconvenes. Lotteries, charities and Native Alaskan groups may hold lotteries.
Alaska Horse Racing
Alaska racing is unusual. Bets may be made on dog sled races, salmon migration and weather events. These are typically done at fairs and operated by organizers or charities. However, typical greyhound and horse racing are illegal in Alaska.
Horse Racing Laws in Alaska
Bookmakers that accept wagers in an organized way on greyhound and horse racing is guilty of possession of gambling records if the enterprise runs longer than 30 days or generates more than $2,000 in revenues in a single day. Dog sled racing and other exempted activities are not included in this crime.
Alaska Skill Gaming Laws
Games that are not determined by chance are legal in Alaska. This includes participants in a test of speed, strength or skill. Daily fantasy sports contests also fall under this exemption.
Skill-based Gaming Machines
Skill-based gaming machines are legal in Alaska arcades. However, the only prizes permitted are free credits or redemptions for merchandise. Legal games include pinball and claw machines.