Sports betting in Alabama is not currently legal despite multiple efforts to legalize in the past, including an attempt in 2020.
The most recent bill was HB 336, which would have created the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission. The bill stalled in committee in late March before Alabama’s legislature was suspended until late April because of the coronavirus pandemic.
HB 336 would have allowed for retail and mobile Alabama sports betting, which would be important. Most states opt to run retail sports betting either through casinos or lottery retailers.
Alabama has no commercial casinos and just three tribal casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The tribe does have an agreement with a sports betting operator, however. The tribe owns Wind Creek Casino in Pennsylvania and recently signed Betfred as its sportsbook operator.
Alabama is also one of the last states in the US without a lottery.
The future of Alabama sports betting
Alabama hasn’t had much success with gambling legislation in the past. But it feels likely that AL sports betting will eventually be legalized.
Two of Alabama’s border states, Mississippi and Tennessee, legalized sports betting. Tennessee will offer mobile-only sports betting when operations finally launch. Bettors in Mississippi need to visit a casino to place their bets.
There have been attempts to legalize mobile sports betting in Mississippi. And another border state, Georgia, tried to pass mobile betting in 2020.
It seems likely that if more states begin to allow mobile betting that would be easily accessible to residents of Alabama, legislators would want to find a way to keep those tax dollars from leaving the state.
When will online sports betting launch in Alabama?
It’s impossible to give a timeline right now as no sports betting legislation has made it out of committee in Alabama’s legislature.
That suggests it could take time to get a bill passed since the whole chambers of Alabama’s legislature haven’t had a chance to debate the merits of sports betting.
That said, Alabama has only three tribal casinos and no lottery, so retail AL sports betting could be sparse. It seems like the only way AL could successfully offer sports betting is to offer an open mobile market with untethered operators, like Tennessee.
Latest Alabama sports betting news
Legal betting options in Alabama
Aside from betting on horse racing, there are no legal sportsbook websites that accept bets from anyone within the state of Alabama.
Any other websites that accept sports bets from someone in Alabama are not a legal option within the United States. There are various familiar sportsbooks that operate offshore, meaning they don’t hold a license from any US jurisdiction to legally accept bets from residents.
These websites offer no consumer protection whatsoever. Winning bets might not be paid out and companies can disappear without returning player deposits.
The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the United States is to do so with a licensed operator.
Most popular sports to bet on in Alabama
Whenever legalized Alabama sports betting does happen, there will be no shortage of sports betting enthusiasts.
The one critical aspect sports betting in Alabama should keep in mind is allowing bettors to wager on in-state collegiate athletics.
Alabama has no professional sports teams but it has plenty of big schools that boast the same sort of frenzied fanbase some of the biggest professional teams have.
The top two programs in the state are the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers, both of whom have strong NCAA football teams.
No doubt should either one of those programs make a run to the College Football Playoff, betting handle could rival that taken on some of the biggest NFL playoff games.
The fans of those programs also tend to be educated on SEC football in general. Betting on those contests, even between two out-of-state schools, would also likely be substantial.
Alabama and Daily Fantasy Sports
While it isn’t betting, sports fans do still have options for sports entertainment.
Daily fantasy sports contests were originally suspended in 2016 when Atty. Gen. Luther Strange ordered a cease-and-desist to both operators.
Is horse racing legal in Alabama?
While horse racing is legal in Alabama, there are currently no tracks that offer live racing. But there are options to bet on out-of-state horse racing.
Alabama allows simulcast betting as well as historical horse racing, which looks and acts like slot machines.
AL sports betting history
2020: HB 336 appears to have stalled in committee. Mobile sports betting would have been legalized along with certain retail outlets licensed to take bets. Sports betting revenue would have been taxed at 10%.
2019: HB 315, which was similar to HB 336 in 2020, also failed in committee. But Alabamans got access to daily fantasy sports in 2019 after a bill legalized the games. The games were deemed illegal by the state’s attorney general in 2016.
Alabama sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Alabama?
No. Right now, there are no legal options for sports betting in Alabama.
Who would oversee betting in Alabama?
A regulatory board would likely have to be created through the same legislation that legalizes AL sports betting to oversee the activity.
Will mobile sports betting be allowed?
It’s too early to say if mobile and online betting would be allowed under a future Alabama sports betting law. If a lottery or commercial casinos are not legalized, mobile sports betting would seem necessary.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. There are currently no sportsbook operators that are licensed at the federal level, which means all US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level.
Any website that suggests betting from anywhere in the US is allowed is a website that operators offshore. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.