Alaska Gambling and Casinos

Short Summary:  There are only a few forms of legalized and regulated gaming in the State of Alaska, which include charitable bingo, tribal bingo and pull tabs.  On this page, we look at these forms of gaming and present what types of online gaming are also available in the state.

Alaska is one of the only two states that are not part of the contiguous United States, and this perhaps shows in their gambling laws. It’s as if they have no idea what has been going on down here the last several decades because their laws are extremely restrictive compared to most other states. This comes back to the part that they are generally a very Conservative state as relates gambling, and in general, even though many of their other laws aren’t quite as Puritanical as you might find in Utah or Alabama.

On the other hand, the population may simply be so small (around 740,000 as of 2017) that they might not consider it worth going through the hassle of licensing and having to regulate other forms of gambling. While it does have something of a tourism industry, most people visiting the unspoiled land that is most of Alaska can be presumed to not really have casino gambling on the mind.

The two forms of gambling that have been specifically legalized and are regulated in the State of Alaska are:

  • Charitable
  • Tribal

Charitable games that have been authorized through the state may be offered on a limited basis. This is strictly limited as, “Monte Carlo Nights,” with casino-style gaming are expressly illegal in the state. Most gambling that takes place does so in the form of licenses and pull-tabs from which the state takes taxes of 1% of any amount in excess of $20,000. Any charitable gambling agency that is licensed and has revenues that do not exceed $20,000 need only pay the licensing fees. The forms of charitable gambling that are permitted consist of pull tabs and live bingo.

Tribal gambling also exists in Alaska, but not in the fashion of Tribal casinos. The tribes that operate any form of gambling in Alaska do so by way of live bingo halls.

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The laws of the State of Alaska, with exception to the pull tabs and the bingo, are pretty straightforward is saying that unlawful gambling is, “Gambling not specifically allowed by law.” In other words, if it’s not pull tabs or bingo and you’re in Alaska, it’s illegal.

Interestingly enough, for a mere player, he would get a free pass even in the unlikely event that he was charged with a, “Violation,” for Unlawful Gambling. The first offense is just a, “Violation,” of which a record is made, but there does not appear to be any fine or jail time associated with a mere violation. Things would get more serious in the event of a player being charged a second time.

Even if the law did have a punishment for a first-time offender, it is extremely unlikely that this would ever befall anyone considering that one would be gambling from his or her own home and the state should really have better things to do than care about that. For those concerned with following the law to the strictest possible interpretation, though, it is technically illegal.

There are much stricter penalties for, “Possession of a Gambling Record,” and, “Promotion of Gambling,” but both of these things concern illegal operators of gambling and not mere players. Players would not be engaging in, “Promotion of Gambling,” in any way whatsoever and the fact that one is merely a player, and not acting as the house, is a defense to the charge of Possession of a Gambling Record.

On one occasion, a gambling house was raided back in 2006 and all of the money and chips located therein were confiscated, but it doesn’t even seem like they decided to arrest the operators. They just wanted to shut the whole thing down.

Social games are also specifically allowed in Alaska, such as home poker games, provided that nobody is acting as the house or taking any kind of rake. In other words, these are zero house edge (100% RTP) games that are taking place, or unraked poker games.

Places To Gamble

There are a few different places in the State of Alaska that sell pull tabs or conduct live bingo. Charities may also conduct live bingo from time-to-time in various locations. If you live in Alaska, you probably have a better idea of where to find it than I do.

Prognosis For The Future

There have been bills in the past, such as a lottery bill in 2017, to expand the methods of gambling that would be legalized and regulated in the State of Alaska, but all such have died a Legislative death. Alaska is and remains a fairly staunchly Conservative state, but more than that, it’s hard to say whether or not the state would really benefit all that much from expanding the forms of legalized gambling. You could argue revenues, but with that would come the need to create a lottery commission for the purposes of oversight, and again, Alaska has a comparatively small population over a wide geographical range.

Conclusion

If you want to gamble online in Alaska, you essentially have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately for you, there are very few forms of traditional gambling available, limited only to live bingo as well as pull tabs. If you are acting as a mere player online, even if you did get caught, you would be subject only to a, “Violation,” for a first-time offense which carries with it no fines and no jail time whatsoever. After that, just don’t do it anymore.

References