Alabama is a state which is notoriously opposed to gambling of all forms. With the PAPSA repeal in May 2018, you may be wondering if it is now easier to gamble legally in AL.
In this guide, we’ll discuss current and upcoming laws which regulate sports betting in Alabama, and let you know what your options are for wagering on sports online and offline in the state.
What Laws Regulate Sports Betting in Alabama?
Before we get into existing laws as well as bills that are on the table, let’s give a little background on Alabama and issues of gambling.
AL is a state which has a long history of deeply opposing gambling in any form.
In fact, it wasn’t until April 2019 that the Alabama Senate finally passed a bill that would let voters decide in 2020 whether they would like a state lottery.
So, that gives you an idea of the kinds of deeply-entrenched negative beliefs regarding gambling which the industry has been up against.
Nevertheless, forward motion has been made just this year with daily fantasy sports, and there is a bill under consideration right now which could make sports betting in AL fully legal.
It is Legal to Bet on Horse and Greyhound Races in Alabama
Two areas where there have been exceptions in AL’s strict legal code concerning gambling for some time now are horse racing and greyhound racing.
There are actually four existing horse racing tracks located in AL. These tracks are not in use, however. The Birmingham Race Course did attempt to get horse races going again in 2011, but the track remains idle since 1995.
Even with the race tracks neglected, pari-mutuel simulcast betting on horse racing at these tracks is permitted.
You can view the Alabama Department of Revenue’s Pari-mutuel Pools Tax Schedule right here, which also applies to dog racing (see below).
Also, read the legal code surrounding licensing for pari-mutuel betting on horses and greyhounds in AL, and check out Title 40 Chapter 26A, Title 11, Subtitle 2, Chapter 65, and Title 40 Chapter 2A, all of which govern pari-mutuel betting.
You might also be interested in this article from October 2019 which discusses games introduced by the Birmingham Race Course which “allow users to place wagers on horse races that have already taken place.”
The Birmingham Race Course offers simulcast horse racing wagering, as does Greenetrack, VictoryLand and Mobile Greyhound Park.
If you do not want to visit a track to place pari-mutuel bets on horse racing, you can make off-track wagers online.
Unlike horse racing, greyhound racing is a sport which Alabama has not entirely abandoned.
The Birmingham Race Course features greyhound racing throughout the year, five days a week.
Greyhound races also continue to run at the Mobile Greyhound Park four days a week. The races are seasonal, but the simulcast services are year-round.
You can also enjoy simulcast greyhound wagering at the other aforementioned tracks as well.
How much longer will greyhound racing last in the state? At the moment, there aren’t any looming concerns that it will go away anytime soon.
But across the US, the majority of states have banned dog racing, and eventually, chances are good that AL will follow suit.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Fantasy Sports Were Legalized in May 2019 With HB 361
Alabamans love daily fantasy sports, and many state residents illicitly participated in them when they were illegal in the state.
But with the recent passage of HB 361, fantasy sports betting is now legal so long as one is going through a website which has registered with the state and which is operating within the parameters of state law.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that Alabama residents have been able to legally play daily fantasy sports.
They were actually legal before 2016 as well.
But when Attorney General Luther Strange stated that year that they were illegal (directly contradicting an earlier decision by the Alabama Supreme Court), websites like FanDuel and DraftKings had to exit the Alabama market.
But with Governor Kay Ivey’s signature on HB 361, websites like these were welcomed back to Alabama, and AL residents today can once again play fantasy sports.
Alabama HB315: The Bill That Would Fully Legalize Sports Betting in AL
The relevant bill to be tracking right now with regard to sports betting in Alabama is Alabama HB315, the status of which you can view here.
You can read the full text of the bill on that page. Introduced in April 2019, it would, if passed, create a regulatory agency called the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission.
Sportsbooks would finally be able to operate legally within state borders after applying for a license and receiving approval from the commission.
Until that bill is passed, there is no way to bet at local sportsbooks legally in Alabama.
Online gambling in Alabama remains in a gray area if you go through offshore sites.
While many offshore sports betting sites still do not accept customers from the USA, there are a few trusted sites which do.
Where to Bet on Sports in Alabama Offline
The pari-mutuel betting opportunities which we discussed before for horse racing and greyhound racing are the only offline betting options currently available in AL.
Here are the locations where you can bet:
Birmingham Race Course
1000 John Rogers Drive
Birmingham, AL 35235
Mobile Greyhound Park
7101 Old Pascagoula Road
Theodore Al 36582
8680 Co. Road 40
Shorter, AL 36075
524 Co. Road 208
Eatuw AL 35462
Hopefully, when HB315 passes, there will be more local betting options available throughout the state.
Where to Bet on Sports in Alabama Online
For the time being, there are no regulated sports betting websites operating in the state of AL.
But in the meantime, some offshore betting sites do accept customers from Alabama.
If you are going to gamble online, we recommend the following:
- Research the website you are thinking of joining to learn about its reputation. Ideally, pick a site that is licensed and regulated by an offshore authority.
- Read the terms and conditions for match deposit bonuses and free bets carefully. Only accept bonuses with terms with which you are comfortable. Look for low rollover requirements.
- Pick sites to join which offer competitive odds, fast and affordable deposits and withdrawals, and excellent customer service.
You have now had a chance to read in-depth about the Alabama state government’s position on horse and greyhound racing, fantasy sports, and online and offline betting.
While AL historically has opposed gambling, the government’s attitude toward it is gradually relaxing.
Hopefully, HB315 will pass, and online gambling can move out of its current gray area and into a fully legal realm along with local betting shops.
But until then, gambling online in AL appears to involve little legal risk, and pari-mutuel betting at the tracks remains a legal option.