You would be hard-pressed to find a state as unfriendly to sports bettors as Alaska. Most states are pretty gray concerning the legal issues surrounding sports betting and other forms of gambling. But Alaska is one of several states which has gone out of its way to try to place an actual hard ban on almost every type of gambling, sports betting included.
This guide will introduce you to current legislation that restricts gambling activities in the state of Alaska. We will then discuss prospects for the future as well as your current limited options.
What Laws Regulate Alaska Sports Betting?
The relevant statute defining gambling in Alaska is AS 11.66.280. You can read the full text of this regulation here.
AS 11.66.280 is a statute under a chapter titled “Offences Against Public Health and Decency.”
This title is enough by itself to explain to you the social and cultural underpinnings of Alaska’s negative attitude towards sports betting and other types of gambling.
This statute defines gambling like so:
“Gambling” means that a person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that that person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.
A few exceptions are listed, sports betting not being among them.
You can then read on to AS 11.66.200, which elaborates, “Gambling is a violation for the first offense. Gambling is a class B misdemeanor for the second and each subsequent offense.”
So, hypothetically, if you are wagering on sports online or offline, the government of Alaska could ultimately charge you with a class B misdemeanor.
That means that for each offense, you could serve up to 90 days in jail, and/or have to pay a fee of up to $2,000.
How likely is this to happen? Like many other states, Alaska does not seem to go out of its way to hunt down offenders and punish them. It is not even clear whether the state has ever enforced the law.
So, if you do decide to wager on sports in Alaska, it is at your own risk. Thankfully, that risk appears to be low.
How Soon Will the Situation Change?
You are probably aware that PAPSA was repealed in May 2018. That has been a great boon for the industry as a whole across the country. Many states are now looking into legalizing and regulating sports betting.
But Alaska is not eager to jump on this bandwagon, and it appears that it may be one of the last holdout states when it comes to keeping sports betting and other gambling activities banned as long as possible.
Will it change eventually? It seems likely as culture continues to evolve in the US as a whole, but you probably should not be holding your breath for a major change in the near future.
Where to Bet on Sports in Alaska Offline
So, given Alaska’s extremely strict laws concerning sports betting, is there anywhere you can wager on sports physically in the state?
For the most part, the answer to this question is no. But, it is possible that there are some minor exceptions.
Alaska does not have any horse racing tracks. Some states make an exception for horseracing while otherwise prohibiting sports betting, but Alaska is not among them. The same is true of greyhound racing. You also cannot wager on mushing.
I did mention that there might be one exception. Let’s return to the definitions outlined in AS 11.66.280.
Under the exceptions listed to the definition of gambling, there are social games. Under section 9, you can read:
“Social game” means gambling in a home where no house player, house bank, or house odds exist and where there is no house income from the operation of the game.”
AS 11.66.200 elaborates, “It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the defendant was a player in a social game.”
So, judging from the way that those regulations are phrased, it would seem that you can wager on sports with your friends in the privacy of your own household or theirs. So long as there is no actual “house” as a profiting entity, in theory, you should not be breaking any law.
Moreover, nobody should ever find out what you are doing in the first place, assuming you are discreet.
This exception for social gambling might also inform us as to something concerning the spirit of the law.
It seems that the Alaska government might be less concerned with what you are doing in private than it is with what you’re doing in public regarding gambling.
Another possible interpretation is that it simply does not want sportsbooks operating on Alaskan soil, but does not have a problem with wagering otherwise.
Where to Bet on Sports in Alaska Online
One exception to the hard ban in Alaska surrounding sports betting is fantasy sports.
The state has no legislation concerning fantasy sports, and both FanDuel and DraftKings currently accept customers from Alaska.
So, if you want to gamble on sports in Alaska, going through FanDuel or DraftKings for fantasy sports is one of your safest and clearest options.
Sports Betting Sites
What about wagering on sports using online sportsbooks located overseas? Is doing so legal from Alaska?
While Alaska probably disapproves, it has yet to set any specific regulations concerning the legality of wagering at offshore sports betting sites.
But it is easy to imagine that it would fall under the blanket definition of “gambling” shared in the earlier statue.
So, if you want to bet on sports online, this probably falls into the category of a “low risk” activity.
One thing to be aware of is that Alaska’s opposition to sports betting is well-known internationally. In fact, there are websites that accept USA customers but still ban residents of Alaska.
But this is not universal. There are still plenty of sites that will accept you as a customer, even with your Alaska residency.
If you decide to wager on sports online from AK:
- Choose a licensed and regulated website with a solid reputation.
- Check the terms and conditions, especially for bonuses.
- Compare odds, deposit and withdrawal speeds and costs, and other features.
- Consider joining several sites to make shopping the odds easier to find the best value for your wagers.
You now are well-acquainted with Alaska’s negative attitude toward sports betting and gambling in general.
We have discussed AS 11.66.280, which lays out definitions for gambling, and AS 11.66.200, which lays out the consequences.
You also are aware that positive change has been sweeping the country as a whole, but Alaska is lagging behind on embracing sports betting with its ban becoming increasingly anachronistic.
Nevertheless, betting on sports online appears to be a low-risk activity, while daily fantasy sports is safe and legal.