Casinos for you
Land Based GamblingAllowed in Bingo Online GamblingAllowed in DFS Min Age19 Number of Indian Casinos2 Popular Land Based CasinosKlawock Bingo, Metlakatla Bingo Hall Pari-MutuelNo Smoking BanLocal bans only Estimated Tax Revenue from Gambling$1M
Land Based Gambling
Regulated Since: 1990
Gambling Age: 19
Online Sports Betting
Regulated Since: 1990
Gambling Age: 19
Gambling within Alaska is a unique and rather interesting activity. Much like Alabama, the state of Alaska has legislation in place that bans all forms of gambling unless it’s made legal by the state.
Alaska might be one of the biggest states in the US but they also have one of the smallest populations. As such, there is no big motion for the gambling industry to become completely legal and burst through state lines.
The laws and regulations are strict but also leave room for misinterpretation. Many believe that if a form of gambling is not explicitly deemed illegal by the state there is room for it. This is why you’ll find a range of unlegislated gaming activities within the state. This includes Daily Fantasy Sports which is not illegal but not 100% legal. As such, big companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel operate DFS sites where Alaskans get to play.
Online Gambling in Alaska Status
At this point in time, the only legal gambling options include pull-tab games and Bingo. Furthermore, the state reserves the right to allow municipalities to host fundraising activities such as bingo, raffles, fishing competitions, dogsled races and sometimes lotteries if requested. As with Alabama, most legal gambling forms are given the green light if it’s charitable.
In essence Lottery, Bingo and Social Gambling are legal with a range of restrictions on its legality. Race and Sports betting is illegal but exceptions can be made by the state. Casino games such as slots and table games are currently illegal with no option for exceptions.
Alaskans aren’t exactly cut off from gambling forms as they do have access to Las Vegas-style casino games through cruise ships located off the state’s coast. That being said, Alaska has been known to be rather cold towards the gambling industry in its entirety.
The good news is that things could soon take a turn for the better as a new piece of legislation (House Bill No. 246) was introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The House Bill if approved will legalise a lottery that could offer sports betting.
While there is hope the history of the laws and possible laws implemented in Alaska has shown that it could be a while before more legal gambling forms are added to the table.
Alaska, like many other US states, has an interesting history implementing very restrictive laws. Unlike other states, there is not a lot of pushback as the state has a relatively small population.
The Department of Revenue was given total gaming activity control in 1960. When this happened Bingo became the only game legally allowed by state law. In 1984 Pull tab games were authorized through the obtaining of a permit. Businesses and charity organizations were the only parties allowed to obtain such permits.
In 1987 Mike Von Gnatensky ran for mayor of Anchorage and during this time tires to get casino owners to invest in the city. Gnatensky had actual plans and communication in place with potential investors but unfortunately did not receive enough votes to win the general election.
After seeing some interest from residents during Gnatensky’s campaign Alaskan Officials held a vote in 1990 to legalise gambling and establish a state gambling board. The vote failed with a 50,446 for and 90,827 against count.
In 1993 the National Indian Gaming Commission approved the build of a casino in Klawock Alaska. It was at the start of construction that the state decided to ban card, wheel and dice games. With the new law, the build of the casino was put to a stop and along with it any ideas of more traditional casinos being built in the future.
Then in 1995 Alaskan Officials implemented a law that allowed cruise ships to offer gambling in their waters. In order to do so, cruise ships had to pay a one-time fee to the state. In that year more than $500,000 was generated for the state. Despite the large revenue increase, the law was never re-enacted after expiring at the end of 1995.
In 2003 the House Bill 240 was introduced with the hopes of bringing a state lottery system to Alaska. It was rejected by the Alaskan state legislature shortly after being presented. Then in 2008, there was another vote to legalise gambling and establish a state gambling board. Again it lost with 116,670 votes against and 73,463 for it.
In 2016 the Alaska Gaming Reform Act was passed allowing charitable gaming activities such as raffles, bingo and pull-tabs.
With Alaska’s current budget deficit Gov. Mike Dunleavy is pushing to legalise gambling and increase revenue within the state. The new piece of legislation, House Bill No. 246 was recently presented. If implemented it will legalise a lottery that enables sports betting. It will also create an Alaska Lottery Corporation. If implemented the Alaska Lottery Corporation would be state-owned and governed by the Department of Revenue.
The corporation would have authority on deciding which games are offered which includes sports betting.
The Alaskan laws might have received a minor update in 2016 with the implementation of the Alaska Gaming Reform Act, but the restrictions remain the same. One could say the new legislation simply tightened the reigns on legal gaming activities within the state.
Under the new Gaming Reform Act, the Alaskan Tax Division has the power to issue permits and licenses to vendors for all legal gaming activities. The division is also responsible for collecting taxes and fees, reviewing gaming activities and making sure all licensed vendors are complying with the laws and regulations.
The main reason the Gaming Reform Act was implemented was to ensure that charitable gaming would “go green”. To cut down on paper waste all bingo, lottery and pull-tab sales went online and is done via a service called “Revenue Online”.
According to the Alaskan laws, all forms of gambling is deemed illegal unless clearly stated otherwise. By law, gambling means “…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, upon an agreement or understanding that that person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”
With this in mind, the majority of legal gambling options licensed in the state is solely run by charitable gambling organizations. With the revenue going directly into the state. The state currently only allows Bingo, Pull-tab games and raffles run by charitable organizations.
There are no land-based casinos in this state however you will find bingo halls such as the Tlingit & Haida Community Bingo hall in Juneau and the Klawock IRA Smoke Shop in Klawock. Here you can enjoy a range of bingo and pull-tab games. There are different tribal bingo parlours and commercial venues with pull tabs.
Alaska is a large state with a small population who currently only have access to licensed bingo, raffles and pull-tab games. With the new proposed House Bill (No.246) lottery and sports betting could soon become legal in the state. If this happens the Alaska Lottery Corporation will be created, governed by the state’s Department of Revenue and given authority to decide which games are offered.
Casinos and Gambling Facilities in Alaska Gambling?
FAQWhy doesn’t Alaska have any tribal casinos?There is only one tribe in Alaska that meet the conditions to operate a tribal casino which includes living in a state that allows gambling. Unfortunately with only Bingo and pull-tab games legal, there is no possibility of opening a legal land-based casino.What is the age restrictions on legal gaming activities?You have to be 19 years or older to play Bingo and 21 or older to take part in pull-tab games.Does Alaska have land-based casinos?No, they only have bingo halls that are listed as casinos. This includes the Klawock IRA Smoke Shop in Klawock and Tlingit & Haida Community Bingo in Juneau.Is gambling legal in Alaska?Yes but it comes with a range of restrictions. The only legal forms of gambling include bingo, pull-tab games and charity casino nights.Does Alaska have legal betting or track shops?No, you won’t find any legal betting tracks for horse or dog racing here. There are also no betting shops that allow pari-mutuel or sports betting activities.Is online gambling legal in Alaska?This is another grey area. No law makes it legal or illegal. Many Alaskans enjoy online gambling activities via foreign operators.Is there a state lottery in Alaska?Not at the current time, however, there is a new piece of legislation in motion that if approved will bring a lottery to the state.Where can I play bingo in Alaska?Bingo can be players in any bars, restaurants or bingo halls run by Native Alaskan tribes.Are Daily Fantasy Sports legal in Alaska?It’s a grey area. There is no law governing daily fantasy games. As such sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, CBS Sports and Yahoo provide Alaskans with Daily Fantasy Sports betting options.What is pull-tab?Pull-tabs are very similar to scratch-off lottery tickets and come with different themes including dog-sledging.