Being a conservative state from Southern United States, gambling is banned under law in Alabama. The only way that you can gamble if you are a resident of the state is via online casinos who accept players from Alabama. While that is great news for those who would like nothing more than trying their luck at gambling online, you need to understand a few things about how gambling is viewed legally in the state of Alabama.
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Legal Status of Online Gambling in Alabama
Alabama residents aged 18 and above are allowed to play bingo games as well as bet at the horse tracks. That apart, those aged 21 and above can gamble at Native American operated casinos. Though, it has not been expressly stated under law, it is safe to assume that if you are an Alabama resident, you need to be at least 21 years old to gamble at online casinos.
Like with most other states there is no law that either specifically bans or approves online gambling. What that in effect means that one can gamble online without breaking any law. However, if one wants to be absolutely certain of one’s legal position before joining any online casino, it might be a good idea to consult an attorney specializing in gambling related matter about that.
When it comes to playing online casino games in the state of Alabama, it makes great sense to do one’s due diligence about them before zeroing in on the one that’s just right for you. Here’s what you might look out for-
User Friendly and Secure Payment Options
The first thing that you should find out about a casino site is whether they allow you to make deposits using debit and credit cards. Most of the well regarded online casinos in Alabama provide this facility. At the same time you should also keep an eye on the deposit fee and ensure that you sign up with a site that charges a fair fee.
Secondly, there should be clarity about the payment options available, so that you can decide if you can use the method that suits you best. Any online casino of fair standing will have a list of the available payment options prominently displayed on their website.
What is perhaps the most important thing you need to find out about online casinos is the withdrawal option. Most online casinos allow payouts only via Bitcoin. This works out well from the players’ point of you as the payout is faster and relatively cheaper.
Lastly and very importantly security has to be an important factor in your choice of an online casino. The site in question has to provide out of the top drawer security to the players or they are not worth joining. You can get a far idea about the safety aspect by checking out the online reviews pertaining to an online casino’s security features.
Great Site Interface
Since gambling is a high intensity affair, it is important that the online casino you join up with has a great site interface. You should not have to struggle to access the game you want to play. A well designed site will let you access your favorite game from the Homepage. The ability to navigate the website with ease as well the ability of the site to let you access the hundreds of games it offers without hanging up or freezing is also important.
Most leading online casino sites allow you to check out their sites for free initially to let you get a feel of how they function. So, it might be a good idea to visit a few sites and check out their interface, before zeroing in on the one that you want to join.
Diverse Gaming Options
The great things about online casinos is the fact that you can literally play hundreds upon hundreds of games. While that is a great thing for sure, you do need to check that the website you want to join offers you the games that you excel at. Whether it is table games, card games or slot games that you fancy, do ensure that you choose a website that offers you exactly that. It would be a good idea for you to check out the Homepage of the site in question to determine if the games listed include your favorites.
24×7 Customer Support
One can’t stress the importance of 24×7 customer service when it comes to online casinos in Alabama. The fact that you are playing virtually means that you may need a query answered at any point in time. It would be very frustrating if there was no provision for getting an instant resolution of any problem that might arise while gambling online. Customer service help may be by way of live chat, or a telephone conversation. It wouldn’t really be enough for an online casino to offer only email support as that does not lend itself to quick resolution.
The greatest advantage of online casinos over traditional one is the fact that they enable convenient anytime betting. You can easily bet from a portable gadget from anywhere, anytime of the day or night. In any case, in a state like Alabama where traditional casinos are largely non-existent, online casinos are the only way that people can satisfy their urge to gamble. In today’s times of social distancing, online casinos can prove to be both a great entertainment option, as well as a means to hone your gambling skills. Talking about social distancing, you do need to take certain steps to ensure that your online gambling experience is a safe one. The following are the important ones:
- Always join an online casino with a great reputation.
- Never bet in excess of what you can afford to lose.
- Focus on playing the games that you are good at.
- Always keep your betting information confidential.
Alabama Gambling Laws
Alabama statutes on gambling are restrictive and imply a broad prohibition on gambling, to which only limited forms of gambling are exempt; There are currently no cities with populations exceeding 300k and therefore no horse racing tracks are operational. Due to the the lack of legal gambling options in Alabama, there is some traffic the spills over to Mississippi.
May 2015 – Senate President Del Marsh introduced SB453 to license and regulate lottery and land based casino gambling. The bill would create a state-wide lottery regulated by the Alabama Lottery and Gaming Commission, bring Class III casino gaming to the states, four dog tracks (racetracks) and authorize the governor to establish Class III gaming compacts with tribes on Indian reservation territory.
Under SB453, revenue generated from the lottery would be placed in a trust fund, whilst casino activity would be taxed at 18% gross gaming revenue. An estimated $400m in revenue would be generated per annum, along with the provision of 11k jobs. Total economic impact projected at $1.3bn; The Tourism and Marketing Committee passed SB453 by a majority vote of 5-3 and would now be subject to a full Senate vote, before progressing to the House of Representatives.
Should the bill pass through the legislature, a referendum over a constitutional amendment would be held in September 2015.
June 2015 – No vote was held on SB453 prior to the end of the legislative session, but incentive for revenue from lottery and casino gambling remains, due to Alabama’s economic position and planned budgetary cuts. The bill would be reintroduced for consideration this summer.
July 2015 -Governor Bentley announced all gambling was expressly excluded from special legislature session and would require a two-thirds majority vote in order to be considered, notwithstanding Marsh’s intention to raise HB453. The Supreme Court would be required to adjudicate on whether the Governor was authorized to dismiss individual proposals from session; A poll by the Alabama Jobs Foundation returned strong support for gambling expansion in the state. 89% of residents surveyed requested the right to vote on gaming, and two thirds opposed a new tax regime to reduce the state deficit. 80% of residents were in support of an education lottery, while 69% supported a gaming/education lottery constitutional amendment; a total of 77% supported Del Marsh’s proposals on gaming/education lottery.
August 2015 – Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted to approve a referendum on the Lottery and Casino Bill by a 6-2 majority. The legislation would now be reviewed by the state Senate and may not be considered prior to the end of the special legislative session, meaning the bill would be considered in the next regular session in 2016.
January 2016 – Representative Harper introduced a constitutional amendment bill to allow the state to establish a lottery. HB13 contains the provision to amend the constitution but does not provide any detail pertaining to how the lottery will be run and how the money will be
distributed. The bill was referred to the Economic Development and Tourism committee, if the bill progresses to the Senate and receives a 2/3s majority vote it will be put on the referendum in November.
The House Minority Leader, Craig Ford, introduced a constitutional amendment bill to allow the state to establish a lottery. HB10 seeks to use the state lottery to fund scholarships through a lottery trust fund. Unlike opposing bill HB13, Ford’s bill sets out the operational structure of the lottery and provides for a State Lottery Corporation to oversee its administration. HB10 was also referred to the Economic Development and
Tourism Committee and will require a 2/3s majority vote in the Senate to make it onto the referendum.
February 2016 – Senators Pittman and Dial introduced a constitutional amendment bill to the Senate which would allow citizens to play multi-state lottery games. SB232 would deposit all tax revenue generated by the lottery in the State General Fund, it requires a 2/3 majority vote in the Senate to be added to the referendum.
April 2016 – Attorney General Luther Strange, declared Daily Fantasy Sports contests, illegal under state law. The Attorney General issued cease and desist letters to, DraftKings and FanDuel, following a review of the State’s gambling statutes, which confirmed that any activity involving an element of chance where something of value is staked, constitutes illegal gambling.
May 2016 – DFS operators, DraftKings and Fanduel, confirmed they had ended all paid contests in the state pursuant to the cease and desist notices issued by the Attorney General in April 2016.
August 2016 – Governor Robert Bentley announced a special legislative session will begin on 15 August 2016, to consider a proposal to establish a statewide lottery. Both the House and Senate would have to approve a constitutional amendment bill by a three-fifths majority, to allow a public referendum to be held on the proposal. A bill had yet to be submitted, however, one must be passed by 24 August 2016 to be included on the November referendum; The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee held a hearing to discuss several lottery proposals. A total of five bills were introduced following Gov. Bentley’s announcement, the Governor provided his backing for one of the measures introduced by House Representative, Alan Harper;
The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee passed two lottery bills following its hearing. SB3, introduced by Senator Jim McClendon, and HB54, introduced by House Representative Alan Harper, propose similar methods of regulating the lottery, however, SB3 also seeks to permit the operation of electronic lottery terminals. Both bills were sent to the Senate for consideration;
The Senate passed HB54 by 21 votes to 12, SB3 did not pass in the Senate. The successful bill was sent to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee for consideration, if approved the bill will progress to a vote in the full House for final approval;
The House of Representatives blocked the committee vote on the lottery bill meaning it could not pass before the deadline to be on the ballot in the November referendum.
October 2016 – Governor Robert Bentley approved legislation to establish the Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming. The seven-member council was tasked with evaluating the current gambling regulation framework in the state and comparing it with that of other states. The council will present the results of its review by 31 January 2017.
February 2017 – Senator Tom Whatley introduced legislation to authorize and regulate daily fantasy sports contests. SB28 would direct the Secretary of State to administer and enforce the regulations defined in the bill, oversee the licensing of operators and set application and annual license fees. The bill was referred to the Tourism and Marketing Committee for
Daily fantasy sports legislation was also introduced to the House by Representative Alan Booth to exempt fantasy sports from the prohibition on gambling. HB354 would entrust the regulation and licensing of the industry to the Office of the Attorney General and proposes a minimum participation age of 19.
April 2017 – HB354, which would authorize daily fantasy sports contests in the state was approved by the House by a majority of 43 to 38. The bill progressed to the Senate for consideration.
October 2017 – Attorney General Steven Marshall requested that the Supreme Court issue preliminary injunctions to stop charitable bingo operators offering electronic bingo machines. The Attorney General stated that the machines are classified as illegal gambling devices under state law and should therefore not be operated anywhere in the state. The operators of the machines claimed they are legally offered under constitutional amendments approved by voters that permitted charitable bingo games in several counties. It was not clear when the court would consider the case.
February 2018 – Senator Paul Sanford introduced SB325 to authorise and regulate daily fantasy sports contests. The bill provided for the registration of operators and would impose an initial registration fee of $5,000 for operators with fewer than 5,000 active customer accounts and $85,000 for operators with more than 5,000 active accounts.
March 2018 – Legislation to authorise and regulate daily fantasy sports (SB325) was dropped from the legislature after the Senate voted against its passage.
April 2019 – Senators Albritton and Marsh introduced SB220 to establish a statewide lottery. The bill must be approved by a majority of voters in the next statewide referendum in order to be
Lawmakers in Alabama introduced Bill 315 to enable seven locations in the state to offer regulated sports betting. Customers also would be able to bet within state lines online and on mobile. The bill would also create the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission to regulate the industry. The licensed establishments would pay a $100,000 fee to operate the betting outlets with the tax rate set at 15% of gross revenues. The state’s legislative
session ends on 18 June;
House Representative Pebblin Warren introduced HB422 to allow electronic bingo machines to be operated at racetracks in Macon County. The bill required approval by a majority of voters in a local referendum in order to be enacted.
February 2020 – Governor Kay Ivey has created a working group to assess the impact of gambling in the state, and specified that she would not consider any gaming compacts with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians before she is shown ‘the facts’ on the potential impact, including
how much revenue it would generate for the state. Meanwhile, elements of the House are pushing to settle the state’s lottery and gambling issues, and the sponsor of a lottery bill in the House said he still planned to pursue it in the current session.
March 2020 – Representative John Rogers has submitted HB-336 that would legalize land based and mobile sports wagering in the state. The bill would allow a total of 4 licenses, which would be awarded by a newly created Alabama Sports Wagering Commission and set a tax rate of 10% of gross win. The bill is currently with the Economic Development and Tourism
Senator Greg Albritton introduced legislation to grant the Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribe the exclusive right to operate casino gaming, sportsbetting and gaming machines in the state. The bill would also permit the tribe to develop two (2) new casinos outside of tribal land. It is not expect the bill to progress through the legislature given the State Governor’s announcement in February confirming she would not consider any gaming
compacts with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians before considering the findings of the newly created working group established to assess the impact of gambling in the state.
The state of Alabama may have the most stringent rules when it comes to gambling, but it hasn’t till date sought to ban online gambling. That provides its residents an opportunity to play a wide array of online casino games to satisfy their urge to gamble. There are a large number of leading online casinos that are happy to accept players from Alabama. While Alabama has more than its fair share of gambling enthusiasts, the reluctance of the state authorities to take a favorable view of the gambling industry, makes online casinos the top choice of such people. Luckily with the online casino sites offering a wide array of games to play, no one is really complaining.
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