The future of Alaska sports betting

Alaskans shouldn’t expect sports betting to be legal in the state anytime soon. 

The combination of Alaska’s vast land area, small population and lack of any major sports teams makes legalization unappealing for sportsbooks. That means sports betting companies are less likely to lobby the government to get the industry off the ground. 

Despite the obstacles the sports betting industry faces, there have been a couple of attempts to get the ball rolling on legalization, including Rep. Adam Wool introducing a bill in February 2022, HB 385, that would authorize and regulate online sports betting.

The Alaska Legislature adjourned in May 2022 with the bill still in front of the House Labor and Commerce Committee. Alaska’s Legislature convenes on Jan. 23, 2023.

Legal betting options in Alaska

There are no legal sports betting options in Alaska, and no legal online sportsbooks will accept bets from anyone within Alaska. While some offshore books may claim to accept bets from Alaskans, those books are operating outside the legal bounds of the United States.

Offshore sportsbooks do not offer any consumer protections and could close or fail to pay out a winning bet with no legal recourse available to the bettor.

Betting on horse racing is also not legal in Alaska, so advance deposit wagering websites do not accept bets from within the state.

Alaska is also one of five states in the US without a state lottery. The only legal option for anyone looking to “gamble” in Alaska is at one of three bingo halls located on tribal land that offer bingo and video pull tab machines.

Is DFS legal in Alaska?

Alaska has not specifically made daily fantasy sports illegal, so daily fantasy sports sites do accept entries from within state lines. Alaskan laws allow for activities that require more skill than chance, and DFS would seem to fall into this category, for now.

Most popular sports teams in Alaska

Alaska does not have any major professional sports teams, but the state does have favorites that people there tend to root for.

The Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings are popular NFL teams in the state, as are the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball. Hockey is also a popular sport in Alaska, with the closest NHL teams being the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken.

Alaska is home to three Tier II junior hockey teams of the NAHL, but those teams may not be available to bet on if sports betting becomes legal in the state, as some of the players in that league are minors.

Alaska sports betting timeline

Feb. 22, 2022: Rep. Adam Wool introduces HB 385, a bill that would legalize and regulate online sports betting in Alaska while placing a tax on daily fantasy sports and online sports betting revenue. The bill made it to the Labor and Commerce Committee, but that’s where it remained when the Legislature adjourned in May 2022.

Feb. 12, 2020: Gov. Mike Dunleavy makes the first real attempt to legalize sports betting in the state. Dunleavy introduces legislation that would have legalized a state lottery and sports betting, as the latter was slipped into the list of lottery games that the legislation listed. 

“The corporation may conduct any type or kind of lottery game, including single-jurisdiction and multi-jurisdiction draw games, instant tickets, sports betting, and keno. The corporation may conduct lottery games through the use of any media, including electronic terminals, computers, and the Internet.”

The bill never progressed out of committee in either chamber.

2008: Alaska residents vote to decide whether to authorize gambling facilities in the state. The measure loses, with 61.36% voting no.

2003: Lawmakers introduce a bill that would legalize a state lottery, but the legislation does not progress out of committee.

Alaska sports betting FAQ

Can I bet on sports in Alaska?

No, there are no legal options for sports betting in Alaska. Offshore sportsbooks will accept bets from within the state’s borders, but those sites offer few or no consumer protections, involve numerous other risks and are operating outside US laws.

Sports betting is legalized at the state level in the United States so there are no legal websites that can accept bets from anywhere in the country.

Betting with an offshore operator leaves the consumer with very little protection. Those sportsbooks have no responsibility to pay out winning bets or even return customer funds should the sportsbook end its operations.

Is horse racing legal in Alaska?

No. Horse racing is not legal in Alaska, and neither is betting on out-of-state races. Legal horse betting sites like TVG do not accept bets from within the state.

Can I bet on sports on my phone in Alaska?

There are currently no legal options for betting on sports from a mobile device in Alaska.

That would likely change should Alaska’s legislature decide to legalize sports betting. Given the size of Alaska and its sparse population density, mobile sports betting would almost have to be a legal option in order to justify the costs of operation.

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