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.
Top 3 Online Betting Sites in Alaska
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You are probably aware that PAPSA was repealed in May 2018.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.
As for offshore online sports betting sites, there are no laws that specifically mention them, leaving many wondering if gambling on these sites is considered illegal. Regardless, there are millions of sports bets made in offshore sports betting sites by players in the US, and no one has ever been charged with breaking the law.
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.
What to Look for in an Online Sports Betting Site
While players wait for lawmakers to pass a sports betting bill in Alaska, they have the option to join an offshore site for fun, entertainment, and a chance to place a bet on the sports they love. Although there are virtually thousands of sites available at the click of a button, there are a few things that should be considered before signing up to a sports betting group.
It would be great to have every site available for sports betting, but this is just not the case. Some sites will have country restrictions that prevent people from registering to the site. There are plenty of sites that accept players from the US, and the ones that do not will have a list of restrictions posted in the help pages or the terms and conditions of the site.
A quick search online can help narrow down sites that cater to players from the US, but just to be safe, players are encouraged to check the restrictions to be sure.
Online betting requires players to deposit money into a personal account on the site. This makes a lot of players weary of the safety issues online money transfers may have, but offshore sites will often accept a wide range of trusted payment options.
Before registering to an online sportsbook, players should take a look at the banking options that are accepted. This information is usually posted at the footer of the main page or in the help pages. Alternatively, customer support can easily provide this information in detail as well.
Common Online Banking Options
- Wire transfers
- Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
- Prepaid cards
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin)
The best sports betting sites will offer its members special bonuses and promotions. They are a great way for players to gain an edge in their plays and add that extra bit of excitement for the chance to increase winnings.
What are the Different Types of Bets I Can Make?
Anyone who has made a sports bet knows there are dozens of different wagers that can be made on games, teams, and even individual players. For players who are still new to online sports betting, the best way to get started is learning the most common bets first.
The most common wagers to come across online:
Players wager on the team or person that will win the game, series, or tournament.
Players bet on the winning or losing team within a range of points that are set by the sportsbook.
Players decide if the final score of a team or game will be higher or lower than the sportsbook’s prediction.
Players choose several wagers within one bet. Wagers can be anything between two and ten selections. In order to win, all selections must be correct.
Teasers and Pleasers
A variation of the parlay bet, teasers and pleasers also require several selections in one wager, though players choose to change the point spread in each chosen game to increase their chances of getting all selections correct. The payouts are often lower than parlay, but there is also a greater chance of winning.
Although some of the wagers sound complicated, they are quite simple Most online sites will have information and tutorials on basic bets, along with more complicated ones that experienced players like to try.
Why Online Sports Betting is Popular in Alaska
Considering the state has always been strictly opposed to all forms of gambling, it is no wonder why so many people are looking to offshore online options instead.
The beauty of online sports betting is the fact that anyone can gain access to a variety of game and play options 24-hours a day and 365 days a year. All from the comfort of home, the only thing a player needs is a device that connects to the internet.
Once a player is registered to a site, they can easily make a wager in a few seconds. No matter what day or time it might be, there is no need to travel to a sportsbook or wait in line just to make a bet. Such convenience is very attractive in a state with very few gambling options.
Easy to Understand
For the most part, sports betting is relatively easy to pick up. Basic bets can be learned in a few minutes, and with a little time and experience, the more challenging bets can be a fun option. Even players who are totally new to sports betting can take the time to learn the rules through tutorials provided on the site. Besides posts and video to guide players through common bets and plays, the sites will also have a customer support team who are willing to help out in any way they can.
With just the click of a button, players instantly have access to hundreds of different games from all over the world. Offshore online sports betting sites cater to many different countries and will have familiar options to everyone that joins the site. Local sportsbooks will have a stronger focus on local games and teams, but online, the possibilities are endless.
Lots of players love to check out offshore sites to try out new challenges and learn about the different sports found overseas. Supporting local teams is great but learning about totally new sports from around the world is that much more engaging.
Have Fun and Stay Safe
Online gambling entertainment is easy and fun, but players should also take some safety precautions before registering to a site and making that first bet. As with anything online, there is always a worry about security, especially for players who are new to online sports betting.
Stick to sites that have a good reputation online. Look at ratings and read through the most current reviews from players who have tried the site out. Most people are more than happy to go into detail about their experience on a site. Check out reviews that mention how user-friendly the site is, how the payment process works, and what kind of game and wager options are available.
Trusted Payment Options
Every site will require members to make deposits and withdrawals online. Most sites are pretty good at accepting a range of trusted payment options from major credit cards and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Players should always stick to the banking options they are familiar with to lessen the worry about banking online.
Players should also take a moment to see what kind (if any) fees apply to money transfers, so there are no surprises with each deposit or withdrawal. Most sites will post fees and minimum payouts in the help pages or in the banking section of the site.
This may not seem like an important safety point, but setting a budget is something that lots of people choose to do before they gamble their money online. Plenty of professionals also recommend doing it since online betting systems are so quick and easy, it is very easy to lose track of how much has actually been spent.
A general rule of thumb is to set aside an amount of money that can comfortably be lost in bets. It is not to say that players should go in thinking they will lose the money, but instead, if the worst should happen, it will not have a serious effect in their life. Nothing ruins what should be a fun and entertaining experience more than stressing out about lost bets.
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.