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Sports betting in Alaska is not currently legal and may not be in the foreseeable future despite a recent attempt from the governor.
The first real attempt to legalize sports betting in the state came in 2020 directly from Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
Dunleavy said legalizing sports betting through the lottery would be a way to diversify the revenue coming to the state’s government. Along with Alaska sports betting, draw games, instant games, and keno also would have been legalized.
Alaska is one of five US states without a state lottery.
Alaska sports betting is not expected to become legal anytime soon.
Neither chamber of the state’s legislature moved on Gov. Dunleavy’s bill. It’s unclear whether the lack of action was because of opposition to all gambling, some of his suggestions, or focusing on other issues.
Alaska has fewer than 800,000 residents and no major sports at all. That means sports betting companies aren’t likely to spend lobbying dollars to get Alaska sports betting off the ground.
Alaska would likely launch online sports betting if and when sports betting is legalized, though that timeline is completely unclear.
Alaska ranks no. 1 overall in US jurisdictions for total land area but is near the bottom for population. That means very few people are spread across more than 570,000 square miles of land.
That means it would make very little sense for any form of legalized gambling to be relegated to retail-only operations. The state would generate far more revenue by legalizing gambling, lottery, and sports betting for mobile devices.
There are now 21 states with legislation related to sports betting introduced this year, 18 of which would legalize sports betting.
There are currently no legal sports betting options within the borders of Alaska.
Alaska does not allow betting on horse racing, so advance deposit wagering websites are not allowed to accept bets from within the state.
There are also no legally operating sports betting websites that will accept a bet from anyone within Alaska.
That means that any website that would accept a bet from Alaska is operating illegally. There are a number of offshore sportsbook operators that claim anyone within the United States can legally bet on their platform, though it’s illegal for the book to accept that bet.
Betting with an offshore sportsbook operator is a dangerous choice for Americans. Those websites offer no consumer protections.
That means a sportsbook could choose not to pay out a winning bet or close operations without returning customer account balances.
Given Alaska’s proximity to Canada and its cool climate, it should be no surprise that Alaskans enjoy hockey.
That means betting on hockey, like the NHL, could account for a greater percentage of handle than in other US jurisdictions.
And just like in other US jurisdictions, betting handle would likely be dominated football, basketball and baseball.
One interesting twist for Alaska would be if any sportsbooks could legally offer betting on the state’s biggest sporting event: the Iditarod sled dog race.
While Alaska has not specifically legalized daily fantasy sports, all of the major daily fantasy sports operators do accept entries from within Alaska.
Beginning in earnest in 2015, a number of states looked into the legality of daily fantasy sports and whether it was a true game of skill or just a way to skirt sports betting laws. Alaska was not one of those states.
Horse racing is not legal in the state of Alaska. Neither is betting on horse races, which means websites that use advance deposit wagering do not accept customers from within the state.
2020: Sports betting got its real first crack at legalization when Gov. Dunleavy introduced legislation to legalize a state lottery to diversify the state’s revenue streams.
Sports betting was included in Dunleavy’s bill as a lottery game:
“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 last sentence in that quote is what made the bill particularly interesting. Dunleavy apparently understood that the state would need to allow mobile betting to maximize its potential revenue.
The bill never progressed out of committee in either chamber.
No. There are no legal options for sports betting in Alaska.
Right now, there are no legal sports betting options in Alaska.
There are offshore websites that will accept bets from within the state’s borders, though those are acting illegally. 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.
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.
Yes, daily fantasy sports operators accept tournament entries from within the state of Alaska. That includes operators like DraftKings and FanDuel.
But even though those companies have legal sports betting and online casino operations in other states, those features are not available within Alaska.
With no legal sportsbook operators available in Alaska, it’s illegal to bet on any sports within the state.
Should sports betting be legalized in the future it’s reasonable to assume all major sports would be authorized for betting. That includes baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer.