Alaska Gambling Laws

No matter where in the United States one goes, they are bound to find a populace with a healthy interest in gambling, even if the information surrounding Alaska gambling laws is foggy. For many, the ideal of gambling is still headed by members of the rat pack who casually toss dice and earn bankrolls in the thousands, or a Steve McQueen figure who, after wiping the sweat from his brow turns over a single card to reveal his win of millions of dollars.

Just as with everything in life, the reality is no match for the fantasy. The truth of gambling is far less glamorous, and generally consists of normal people playing with small amounts of money for a fixed amount of time. However, as casual and responsible gamblers can attest, there are few hobbies in the world that provide quite as much excitement coupled with the potential for profit that gambling can.

While regular gambling is obviously not for everyone, there are those in Alaska and all over the rest of the country who confess to having a deep interest in gambling, yet do not participate in gambling due to a poor or completely false understanding of the laws surrounding gambling.

Federal law, which applies to every US citizen states that even though the facilitation of unlicensed gambling is a serious crime, that the law takes no umbrage with an individual who simply wishes to bet or wager on the outcome of a future event or game of chance. While the state of Alaska adds its own regulations and nuance, this is the general template that Alaska and most of the 50 states in the union adhere to. has made its goal to help Alaska residents understand the legislation related to gambling in their home state in a greater detail, as well as help them find the most legal and safest means to participate in gambling that are available to them. Prospective gamblers in Alaska, you’ve come to the right place!

Legality of Gambling in Alaska

The first thing to note when talking specifically about Alaska gambling laws is that, unlike both federal law and some states who are more permissive to the act, Alaska does both define and criminalize a big chunk of gambling activity. Section 11.66.280 heading 2 of state code defines gambling as when “a person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person's control or influence.”

Though this is a short definition, it is broad, and can therefore be applied many places. It’s easy to see right off the bat that under this umbrella, sports betting and traditional casino games would be included. However, where some states exempt poker from prosecution by including clauses for games involving skill, Alaska’s claim that games need only “partially” involve chance involves poker in the definition as well. The bad news is that Alaska state code 11.66.200 deems this act a class b misdemeanor, which can land a person in jail for as many as 90 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

The good news is that there are several ways to work around this law. Firstly, it is imperative to understand that the spirit and intent of these laws has never been to punish individuals, but to hurt large, organized crime syndicates. A gambler is exempt from this law if it can be proven that they were merely part of a social game, meaning that they were not gambling in an illicit operation. While the state of Alaska will prosecute gamblers found in underground casinos, their policy in relations to gambling is that whatever goes on behind closed doors can stay there.

However, this should not be taken to mean that any sort of gambling action in the state of Alaska will scoot by unnoticed. If one is found guilty of “Promoting Gambling” in Alaska as outlined in section 11.66.210, they will be guilty of a class C felony. Upon conviction of this crime, a resident will not only have to live with a felony charge for what will most likely be the rest of their natural lives, but they may receive up to five years in a state prison as well as a fine of up to $50,000.

Whatever an Alaska resident does, they should avoid this crime!

Difference Between Gambling & Promoting Gambling

Luckily, there are a great many differences between the two acts besides the degree of punishment one will receive for committing them, and it’s just about impossible to switch from “gambling” to “promoting gambling” inadvertently.

The easiest way to illustrate the difference is through an example. Say we have a hypothetical man who wants to gamble, and he walks into an establishment in which he knows that sort of thing happens. Even if he walks in the door with cash in his pocket and a bet in his heart, whether on some future event like a sports game or just an urge to lay some money down on a roulette wheel, that will do him no good without a second person.

This second person, whether acting alone or as part of a larger enterprise, needs to be there to collect the money from the man and either keep track of the event for the purpose of betting or operate the casino game. Without this second party, the man can only gamble against himself. While he has the advantage here of a guaranteed win, it’s hard to really turn a profit that way.

This second party who operates the game and/or keeps track of the money is most likely guilty of “promoting gambling.” However, it’s not as though there are local law enforcement agencies busting down the front door of every home in the Alaska wilderness, because there is one more important parameter that must be met in order for the host of a gambling game to be guilty of “promoting gambling:” they must profit from the event.

To be clear, this does not mean that through a series of lucky or skilled bets, the host comes out ahead. This means that they have set themselves up in a position to profit from the gambling event no regardless of whether or not they place any bets. Some popular means of doing this are by charging admission for the privilege to play at a gambling event, operating any traditional casino games as the “house” who always has the best chance at winning, selling food or drink at a profit during a gambling event, operating a sportsbook, or collecting a small percentage of each pot in a poker game as a profit to the house, which is commonly referred to as a “rake.”

Just as long as a resident of Alaska avoids these very specific acts, they should be able to avoid the serious felony charge, or indeed, unless they are caught gambling in an illicit casino, any legal attention at all for violating Alaska gambling laws.

State Gambling Laws In Alaska

Alaska Sports Betting Laws

Due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which passed through congress in 1992, all states in the US are forbidden from sanctioning any sports betting unless they are one of the four that was grandfathered permission by sanctioning sports betting prior to the passage of the act. Unfortunately, Alaska was not one of these states. These means that, with federal policy standing as it is, unless any drastic changes take shape, Alaska will not be able to sanction any sports betting.

This is why hundreds of Alaska residents log onto legal online sportsbooks every day, to ensure that they can get their bets in for the big game at any time. While it’s a serious crime to operate a website for the purpose of gambling within Alaska or indeed anywhere within the United States, since all the legal gambling networks for Alaska players listed on this page are located offshore, they are well outside the jurisdiction of both state and federal law enforcement agencies, and therefore legal and safe game.

AK Sports Gambling Laws
Is Sports Betting Legal?
Alaska Sportsbooks
Alaska Casino Gaming Laws

We won’t lie: for Alaska residents who crave gambling in a busy casino, it’s not looking good. The state of Alaska has not sanctioned any gambling for its own sake, but two federally exempt facilities have popped up in the state. They are… bingo halls. While each facility hosts as many as 20 slot machines, they cannot offer any table games or other traditional casino fare. They do however, host night after night of thrilling bingo.

For this reason, many Alaska residents with an interest in gambling keep accounts with legal online casinos that allow them to play a great variety of video casino games all for real money, all from the comfort of home.

AK Casino Gambling Laws
Are Casino Games Legal?
Alaska Casinos
Alaska Poker Laws

Despite the raging popularity of poker, (the most popular way for US residents to gamble, bar none) there is not a single sanctioned poker facility in Alaska.

This leaves Alaska residents who want to gamble with the sole option of games at home, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. After all, there are worse depths of hell than enjoying a night with friends over a couple beers and a card game. Residents are also free to enjoy a quiet night in playing poker online.

AK Poker Laws
Is It Legal To Play Poker?
Alaska Poker Rooms

Betting Age: How Old Must I be to Gamble In Alaska?

Although it’s hard to get arrested in Alaska simply for gambling, one sure way to turn the prospects around for a rare gambling arrest in Alaska for a resident to attempt to do so before they reach 21. Those who violate Alaska gambling laws for the legal gambling age leave themselves open not only to a ban from whichever facility they are caught gambling with as well as a seizure of all their funds, but penalties from the state like steep fines and even jail time if the offender is over 18. The best advice to an underage gambler in Alaska: just hold off – it will be well worth the wait to avoid the legal attention.

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Gambling Options For Alaska Residents

On-Land: Sadly, there are not many options for those in Alaska who want to do anything more serious than shout “bingo” in a crowded hall. If a resident of Alaska wants to play poker in person or any traditional casino games, there is an expensive plane ticket in their future. Of course, the exemption for social gambling should help alleviate some of the burn by allowing players to at least gamble in small, social circles.

Online/Web-Based: If ever a market needed access to legal gambling websites, Alaska was it. Thankfully, there is a litany to choose from as long as the player shows a little discretion on choosing a network. All the sites listed on this page are located overseas, which allows them to run as fully legal and legitimate businesses. Between the strict regulations put on them by their native countries and the gaming commissions that certify them, there are fewer safer venues than these Alaska gambling networks.

Top-Rated Alaska Gambling Sites

Voted Best For Easy Player Payouts + Fast Withdrawal

If you demand nothing but the best from legal gambling sites that accept Alaska residents, you need to see what the folks over at Bovada have put together. How can you tell this is the best gambling site out there? Easy – talk to their members and you’ll hear all about their superior products and top notch customer service, and yet not a word concerning the legitimacy of their operation or their secure financial system.

Which really, when you think about it, is the highest compliment you can pay a product like this. When you no longer even need to consider where your money is going or if/when it’s coming out, you know you have a product that has mastered this art. In fact, Bovada has such confidence in their financial security that they will cover all the fees associated with cutting their members as many as one check full of winnings a month. More savings means more bets, which means better odds of winning big!

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Disclaimer - How To Get More Help

While we are confident that the information about Alaska gambling laws presented in this article is accurate, we are not legal professionals, and this cannot be considered an official consultation. Any further questions should be directed to a lawyer or to Alaska legislature which you can visit by clicking the preceding link.