Like in states that traditionally opposed gambling, mobile, and sports betting remain illegal in Alabama. The Yellowhammer State has been historically resistant to sports betting, even as other states in the South, like Tennessee and Mississippi, have adopted safe and legal betting.
This hardline stance even extends to Daily Fantasy Sports. In April 2016, Alabama’s Attorney General indicated that DFS operators were acting illegally and ordered all operators to close. However, this decision was overturned in 2019 when lawmakers passed HB 361, which legalized DFS.
Since then, several attempts to legalize sports betting in Alabama have failed. Bills were introduced in 2021 and 2022 to create a state regulating authority for sports betting and a dedicated state lottery. Yet, these attempts didn’t progress with the Alabama Legislature. Alabama voters would also have to approve any sports betting legislation, as it would require a constitutional amendment.
After the latest defeat in 2022, Senator Greg Albritton, who introduced the bill, indicated that he would introduce sports betting legislation again in 2023. So there’s still some hope remaining for Alabama sports betting in the future.
Read our expert guide to explore everything you need to know about Alabama sports betting. We’ll cover the history of Alabama sports legislation, the availability of sports betting in bordering states, sports likely to be popular with bettors, and answers to some commonly asked questions.
While collegiate sports dominate Alabama, no professional sports team calls the state home. Despite this, should sports betting become legal, there’ll be plenty of interest from bettors in a range of sports in Alabama. We’ll look at some of the major sports likely to be popular below.
Despite college football being dominant in Alabama, interest in NFL betting is likely to be high, as the NFL is the most popular league to wager on in the United States.
The University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn University Tigers each provide a high number of recruits to professional football, with players like Cam Newton and Derrick Henry enjoying excellent careers in the NFL after playing college football in Alabama universities.
Teams from the region, like Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, are typically popular with Alabama’s NFL fans. The most popular markets could be player props if sports betting comes to AL, with bettors looking to bet on ex-Alabama and Auburn players.
While there is no professional basketball team in Alabama, there could be plenty of interest in NBA betting in the state. The Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, and Atlanta Hawks are the closest NBA teams to the Yellowhammer State, and the Pelicans own a G-League team in Alabama, Birmingham Squadron.
Should sports betting come to AL, NBA betting could be popular with bettors in the state. With bets available pre-game and in-play, NBA fans can bet on markets like multi-game parlays or futures, like predicting the MVP or the Finals winner.
Alabama’s highest-level baseball team plays in the Double-A Southern League, but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be interest in MLB betting. Nearby Atlanta Braves have a fanbase across the south and could potentially attract bettors wanting to profit from bets on Braves games.
With legal sports betting, players could bet on markets like runlines, over/under, and futures – like predicting the winner of the World Series.
Alabama doesn’t have an extensive ice hockey history, but the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning are popular with local fans. Both have been successful in recent seasons – the Lightning became a perennial playoff team with back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2020 and 2021. On the other hand, the Predators consistently make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Many US sportsbooks provide a wide range of NHL markets, including player props, individual players to score, and futures like the Stanley Cup or Presidents’ Trophy winner.
If Alabama is known for anything, it’s for powerhouse college athletics programs. The Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, UAB Blazers, South Alabama Falcons, and Troy Trojans compete in NCAA Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
While Alabama schools also compete in other sports, college football is the main attraction for Alabama sports fans. It would also attract the highest number of prospective bettors of any sport in the Yellowhammer State. The Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn would likely draw significant betting interest if betting on in-state college teams is approved.
The only way for people in Alabama to bet legally is to travel to another state where sports betting is permitted. Of Alabama’s bordering states, Georgia and Florida do not allow sports betting, while Tennessee and Mississippi have launched legalized gambling markets.
Like in Alabama, sports betting is illegal in Georgia. There are no legal sportsbooks where you can bet in the Peach State. Despite this, lawmakers proposed several bills to the Georgia Assembly, nearly gaining approval in 2021 and 2022.
Legal sports betting has received support from a coalition of Atlanta’s professional sports teams, led by the Atlanta Hawks. Also, FanDuel has recently opened a facility in Atlanta, indicating that the tide might be beginning to turn on sports betting. Sports betting could launch in GA as early as late 2023 or early 2024 if approved in the 2023 legislative session.
Tennessee legalized sports betting in 2019 before the first online sportsbooks launched in November 2020. Tennessee is an online-exclusive market, meaning there are no retail sportsbooks.
To legally bet on sports in TN, you need to be within state lines and 21 or older. It is legal to bet on both pro and college sports in Tennessee, but you cannot place in-game prop bets on college athletes or teams or any prop bets on collegiate sports. Those with a close affiliation to leagues or teams also cannot bet on sports.
Sports betting in Mississippi launched in August 2018 but is limited to in-person betting at the state’s water and land-based casinos. Mobile betting is unlikely to launch any time soon – three attempts by lawmakers to establish mobile sportsbooks have failed in the last three years.
However, with the country’s third largest casino market, twenty-three casinos offer sports betting through major operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars. The legal gambling age in Mississippi is 21, and you do not need to be a resident to gamble at the state’s casinos.
While a new compact between the Seminole Tribe and the Florida State Government signed in April 2021 had allowed mobile and retail sports betting to launch in the state, a successful lawsuit was filed with a court claiming the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Therefore, sports betting is currently suspended in Florida pending the outcome of the subsequent appeal.
The Seminole Tribe had provided mobile sports betting through the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, but it closed less than a month after launch. There are now no legal options for sports betting in Florida.
Despite not having a professional side of its own, plenty of premier sporting events take place in Alabama. The State hosts college bowl games and one of the most storied games in college football history.
AL is also home to the world-famous Talladega Superspeedway, which hosts two of the season’s most important NASCAR events. Below is an overview of some of Alabama’s best events.
The rivalry between Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers, commonly known as the Iron Bowl, is one of the most intense rivalries in all college football. The two schools are both members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Initially played at Legion Field in Birmingham, since 1999, the schools meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium in odd-numbered years and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa in even-numbered years.
Former Auburn Coach Ralph Jordan was the first to use the Iron Bowl moniker. When asked about his team not being selected for a bowl game in 1964, he responded, “We’ve got our bowl game. We have it every year. It’s the Iron Bowl in Birmingham.”
The rivalry is even more heated because both teams are among the college football elite. The two schools account for thirty-six SEC football titles (twenty-eight by Alabama, eight by Auburn). They are among the most successful college football programs in NCAA history: Alabama is second in all-time Division I wins, while Auburn is thirteenth.
The Lending Tree Bowl is an annual college football post-season game played at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, AL. The game was inaugurated in 1999 and traditionally played late in December before moving to mid-December in 2021.
From 1999-2009, the game pitted teams from the Conference USA (C-USA) and Mid-American Conference (MAC). From the 2010 edition, the bowl’s organizers signed an agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) as the conference’s ninth tie-in. Often, when the ACC failed to have nine bowl-eligible teams, the Lending Tree Bowl featured a Sun Belt Conference team.
The Lending Tree Bowl has made history several times. In 2001, the contest between the Marshall University Thundering Herd and the University of East Carolina Pirates set the record for the highest-scoring bowl of all time, with Marshall winning 64-61 after two overtimes. In 2008, Tulsa recorded the most significant margin of victory in bowl history, defeating Bowling Green 63-7.
The Birmingham Bowl is another post-season college football game played annually in Alabama. Legion Field initially hosted the event until 2020, when organizers moved it to the newly-built Protective Stadium.
The game was inaugurated in 2006, marking the return of a college bowl game to Birmingham after a sixteen-year absence. The game initially featured tie-ins with Conference USA and the Big East Conference.
In 2008, the bowl signed an agreement with the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and now features a matchup between the SEC’s ninth bowl-eligible team and the American Athletic Conference (The American).
Alabama hosts two stock car races as part of the NASCAR Cup Series at the Talladega Superspeedway; the GEICO 500 and the YellaWood 500. Talladega has hosted stock car racing since 1969.
The GEICO 500 is the first of the two races in the NASCAR Cup Series and is a regular season event. It is usually held in April or May and is the fifth “Crown Jewel” race of the season, the most important race on the calendar. Two drivers have won the race the joint-most times, Jeff Gordan and Brad Keselowski. Gordan won four races between 2000-2007, while Keselowski won four between 2009-2021.
The second race, the YellaWood 500, forms part of the NASCAR playoffs as a Round of 12 race. Until 1996, NASCAR scheduled it in early August, but organizers moved it to early October due to the hot summer weather. It has been part of the NASCAR playoffs since its introduction in 2004.
It is unclear. Lawmakers attempted to legalize sports betting in the Alabama Legislature in 2019, 2021, and 2022. All these failed, and legislators have confirmed they will make another attempt in 2023. If this passes, it will take time to set up a legislature and agree on a regulatory framework, meaning at the earliest, it could be 2024 before sports betting launches in the state.
Yes, horse racing betting is legal in Alabama, but no tracks offer live racing. You can bet on out-of-state horse racing through pari-mutuel betting sites like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica. You can also bet on historical horse racing.
You can bet on horse racing, play bingo, and visit the state’s Class II Indian Casinos at 18 in Alabama in most counties. In Greene and Maine counties, the legal gambling age is 19. While some states allow you to bet on sports at 18, most operate with legal sports betting for those 21 and older. It is yet to be determined whether Alabama will continue betting at 18/19 or adopt 21 as the legal age when sports betting launches.
Alabama passed a DFS law in 2019, reversing the 2016 decision by the state’s Attorney-General to close all DFS operators. Now, those over 18 can use any of the US’s popular DFS providers in AL, like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Pari-mutuel horse racing betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests are available in Alabama. There are three Class II Indian Casinos in Alabama, providing bingo, keno, pull-tabs, and “non-banked” card games. Remember - class II gambling is against other players and not the house. All other forms of gambling are illegal.
Lawmakers would have to create a regulatory board to regulate sportsbooks when Alabama sports betting launches. Legislation proposed has suggested setting up two new regulatory bodies; the Alabama Gaming Commission to oversee sportsbooks and a new state-wide lottery, the Alabama Education Lottery.
If Alabama passes a sports betting law in line with other gambling legislation in the state, those 18 and older, or 19 and older in Maine and Greene counties, will be able to bet on sports. If they decide to adopt the more common legal sports betting age of 21, those over 21 will be able to bet on sports.
States commonly also introduce restrictions on certain people who can bet. These include those criminally barred from betting and those in self-exclusion programs. Also, it is common for those involved in sports organizations to be prohibited from betting.
It is unclear whether it will be legal to bet on college teams when sports betting comes to Alabama. Other states have enacted restrictions on wagering on collegiate events, ranging from banning betting on games entirely to restricting bets on in-state games and teams.
Alabama could enact such a restriction, but this is unlikely as college football programs like Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers are immensely popular and would form a large part of any sports bets placed.
We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.