Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: A bill introduced in February 2020 could end the many years of gambling (and specifically sports betting) prohibition in Alaska.
ETA: There is still a long way to go as the bill has only been recently introduced. So it could be a long time until sports betting launches in Alaska.
Alaska’s strict attitude towards gambling has meant it is often been left out of the conversation surrounding legal sports betting - despite the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
In February 2020 Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced legislation to establish the Alaska Lottery Corporation to organise and regulate an Alaska State Lottery.
Alaska has long-standing conservative attitudes towards gambling. It wasn’t until 1960 that charitable bingo gaming was first permitted by state law. Pull-tab games were authorized later in 1984 and were brought under stricter regulations in 1993.
In a surprising move, the legislature introduced in 1995 legalized gambling activities hosted on cruise ships located in Alaska waters. The cruise ship owners had to pay a fee to offer games and in one year, $500,000 in revenue was generated for the state. The law was only in place for one year and was not re-enacted.
In 1996, three electronic games which emulated the pull-tab format but looked more like slot machines were authorised. The three games were “Sled Dog Race Classic”, “Deep Freeze Classic”, and “Snow Machine Classic”. At the same time, it was made illegal to donate money from bingo and pull-tab games to political groups.
Sports betting is currently illegal in Alaska
With no legal sports betting in Alaska, there is no controlling organisation. However, a recent bill proposed the formation of an Alaskan Gaming Commission to oversee any such activities.
An age limit of 21 or over is likely to be set if sports betting ever become legal in Alaska.
Currently, you cannot place a wager on a sports event in Alaska.
As of Q3 2020, there are no legal sports books operating in the state.
There are no operators currently offering legal sports betting in Alaska.
There are no plans to bring mobile sports betting to Alaska at this time.
In 2017, a study carried out by Oxford Economics estimated that the Alaskan sports betting market could generate around $7 million in revenue for the state.
If the recent bill to legalize card rooms is anything to go by, gross revenue could be taxed at a rate of 9.5%.
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