Legal Alaska Online Gambling Sites & Apps
As US states seemingly race each other towards gambling regulations, Alaska is hanging back on the bleachers with what appears to be zero interest in developing an Alaskan gaming license.
That's not to say there's no gambling interest amongst the residents, or that all forms of gambling are wiped out. As with several other states, the issue of regulations for the state in general and the special regulations for Native Americans are what create the most complicated divide. In this article we explore the gambling culture in Alaska, its boundaries, and how to access casino games and real money wins while staying within the law.
Top 10 social and free-to-play casinos in Alaska
- Pulsz Casino - best for real cash prizes
- B spot - best for exclusive games
- ParlayPlay - best for daily fantasy sports
- Hard Rock Jackpot Casino - best for intuitive features
- Chumba Casino - best for welcome offer
- Fortune Coins - best for progressive jackpots
- LuckyLand Slots - best for loyalty program
- Funzpoints Casino - best for mobile experience
- Gambino Slots - best for the app functionality
- Global Poker - best for poker contests
Legal Gambling in Alaska
If you want to be completely 100% above board, then the only forms of legal gambling in Alaska are bingo halls located on Native American reservations. Of course, you can access off-shore online gambling sites but you wouldn't actually be operating inside the law. These will sometimes contain the odd slot machine, but the legality of these is also in question. The state also doesn't oppose pull-tab games and betting on dog mushing contests (how Alaska is that?!). Here's exactly what's allowed and what isn't:
- The law prohibits staking or risking anything of value on an outcome decided by chance or contingent on a future event. So that pretty much covers all casino games and slots.
- Horse racing and off-track betting are completely prohibited.
- Dog racing, including off-track, is prohibited with the exception of dog mushers’ contests.
- No casinos or casino machines are allowed, except on Native American reservations.
- Bingo halls and social in-home gambling are allowed.
Online Gambling Laws in Alaska
Online casinos appear to be completely prohibited, although some US-facing operators accept, and sometimes target, Alaskan players. They justify this by arguing that there are no laws that specifically prohibit online casinos. This might be true, but the blanket regulations stating that casino gameplay is illegal to imply that it's applicable to online versions of these games also.
Bingo is allowed, and a few bingo halls are scattered about. Pull tab games are legal too, but very few shops sell them. The legal age to bet on dog mushing races is 18, but you must reach the age of 19 before playing in bingo halls. To purchase and play pull tab games you need to be 21, which is very conservative for what's essentially a scratch card!
Gambling History in Alaska
For several decades, no one really bothered to set out any particular regulations with regard to gambling in Alaska. When regulations came into force they were highly conservative and restrictive, eliminating all but the most basic forms of gambling. Here's a quick historical timeline:
- 1960 - The Department of Revenue is appointed to oversee gambling regulations.
- 1984 - The Department of Revenue legalizes pull tab games.
- 1993 - The state takes full regulatory control of third-party gambling institutions, raising minimum payments from 15% to 30% in pull tab games.
- 1995 - Cruise ship casinos off the coast of Alaska are legalized, but this law expired and was never re-enacted.
- 1996 - Three video pull tab games are legalized.
- 2011 - Pay-to-play golf video games are made illegal.
- 2014 - The department is allowed to issue permits for bull moose derbies.
- 2016 - The Alaska Gaming Reform Act came into force allowing charitable bingo, pull tab games, lotteries, and raffles.
When Could Alaska Become Online Gambling Legal?
Existing Alaskan legislation only covers land-based gambling activity - which does leave online casinos flailing in a gray area. The most recent piece of legislation is the 2016 Alaska Gaming Reform Act. This is mainly focused on the charitable aspect of gambling, ensuring that records are digitized and honest.
It makes no move toward legalizing or regulating online gambling in Alaska. There don't appear to be any discussions or bills scheduled in the near future either. Native American land laws might be changing soon, and these will allow for full-blown land-based casinos.
This bleak outlook on online gambling does indicate the continued use of online gambling sites located outside of Alaska. These operators continue to accept Alaskan players unless they're directly challenged, but it does mean online gambling remains distinctly gray. We’ll keep an eye on progress in the years to come. Perhaps the successful regulations of other states will spur Alaska on to their own legal reform.
Expected Online Casino Games in Alaska
If you're looking to remain within the letter of the law, then players from Alaska must obtain their online casino experiences from social casinos, free-to-play sites, and social sweepstakes. These sites offer a fantastic alternative to traditional gambling, where players can compete for coins, prizes, and cash through daily competitions and tournaments. The type of games available vary from site to site, but they're usually a combination of slots, table games, and unique games.
The only other alternative is to get a true online casino experience from the numerous off-shore sites that target Alaskan players, although this isn't recommended.
If we're laying all our cards on the table, players who ignore the warnings and choose to play at offshore online casinos regardless, are unlikely to be reprimanded since Alaska goes after operators rather than players. The direction you choose is up to you, but be aware that should the law become stricter, you might find yourself in hot water.
The usual choice between land-based slots and online slots is a bit murkier in Alaska. Strictly speaking, all slot games in any form are prohibited. However, it's quite commonplace to find a few slot machines placed within the licensed bingo halls on Native American land.
When it comes to online slot machines, you can find a few common and popular titles, like Starburst and Wolf Gold on social casinos, sweepstakes sites and in free-to-play mode, although these can never be offered legally for real money. Your final option is to access offshore online casinos for real money action, but we don't recommend this.
Bingo is big business in Alaska, but almost always in aid of charitable organizations. There are three licensed bingo halls that are operated by Native Americans as regular businesses. These sites are limited to pull-tabs, bingo and lotteries, and sometimes electronic versions of those games.
It's also commonplace for non-profit organizations to frequently organize bingo events for Alaskans to attend. They offer real money prizes and the profits go towards the charitable cause.
Alaska seems to have missed a trick as far as poker lovers are concerned. Many would agree that poker is a skill game, which would technically make it legal to play. However, the State of Alaska designated poker as a game of chance, thus immediately putting it on the naughty list.
Of course, Alaskans are free to gather their buddies and play poker in their own homes, but competing on a larger scale with online poker won't be so easy. While plenty of real-money poker sites will accept players, Alaskans will need to resort to social poker sites like Global Poker to get closest to action while remaining within the law.
If you’re on the hunt for a roulette wheel in Alaska then you’ll be looking for a very long time. Unless some local Alaskans are stashing roulette wheels in their basements, the closest you’re going to get to a real roulette game is at an online casino. But even so, accessing an online casino to play roulette for real money is illegal, so you would be doing so at your own risk.
Your last option is to play roulette on a free-to-play site or at a social casino that offers sweepstakes competition and access to games through a coin system. It’s not real money gameplay but sometimes you’ll be in with a chance for cash prizes.
The rules for playing online blackjack for real money in Alaska are identical to those for playing online roulette. In summary - it's simply not allowed. If you're really determined to access a real money offshore site, then you can do so without much difficulty, but you should be totally aware that this is outside of Alaskan law and you would be liable for any punishment if caught.
Our advice would be to get on board with social casinos and sweepstakes sites, where you can play for fun, or compete in tournaments and contests for prizes that can range from more coins to real cash.
Live Casino games, also called Live Dealer games, are pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Players can log in to online casinos and play a range of table games or other interactive games in a live environment with a real dealer.
Unfortunately for players from Alaska, live dealer games are off the table. They're only available at real money online casinos, and none of these are legally allowed to operate within Alaska. That means that unless you're ready to bend the law and take the risk, you'll need to wait for the law to change - and you're very likely to be waiting a long time!
Unlike most states and non-US countries, Alaska doesn't have a state lottery. Based on recent research, there are absolutely no plans for one to be set up any time soon. On the contrary, the legislature is vehemently opposed to diluting gambling laws at all, and that goes for lotteries.
But that doesn't mean you can't engage in lottery-style gaming at all, you'll just need to pay a visit to a tribal gambling venue. These generally offer pull tab games, both in physical format and electronically, where you can win cash prizes. Alaskans can also participate in online lotteries, but they should be aware that winnings from these sites could be considered illegal enrichment.
When Could Alaska Legalize Sports Betting?
That's the million-dollar question and one that's near impossible to answer. Of course, anything could happen in the future, and laws are updated and created all the time. As things stand, sports betting is basically nonexistent in Alaska, with a zero-tolerance policy from the state on bets of this kind.
There's only one exception to the rule, and it's as obscure as they come - at least anywhere other than Alaska. Dog mushing is a serious sport in Alaska and, as long as you're over the age of 18, you can wager on dog mushing contests.
Daily Fantasy Sports Betting in Alaska
It brings us great pleasure to say that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is actually legal in Alaska. Finally, after all the restrictions and obstacles, we're able to provide some good news. Despite Alaska's hard line on almost every single form of online gambling, they relaxed the reins for DFS.
Alaskans can buy and sell players to build their very own fantasy team with ease, as there's no direct or indirect mention of DFS regulations anywhere. This appears to indicate that Alaska has no issue with Daily Fantasy Sports, allowing players legal access to top sites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Horse Betting in Alaska
Forget about it. You can't bet on a horse, pony, or even a mule while staying within the law in Alaska. With the exception of betting on dog mushing, any sort of animal or race betting is illegal.
If you're wondering why dog mushing made the cut, it's probably because the sport is very much a part of Alaskan culture. We're really hoping that horse betting enthusiasts will satisfy themselves with a flutter on the mush dogs instead, because the only other alternative is gaining access to online horse betting, and if you need to be told once more - this is a gray-to-black area.
Expected Online Sportsbooks to Launch in Alaska
If we're being perfectly honest, the day that Alaska legalizes online sportsbooks is a day very far removed from reality. Legislators are still contesting applications for a new land-based casino that will only offer a small handful of electronic games, so I can't imagine them suddenly welcoming the notion of online sportsbooks.
Should this dream day ever arrive, I imagine it would impose very few restrictions on Alaskans, allowing them to access most sportsbooks that legally operate in regulated states like New Jersey and Colorado.
Available Sports When Alaska Legalizes Sports Gambling
Sports gambling is a very generic term for bets placed on anything that's competition-based. Most popular sportsbooks will allow bettors to place wagers on almost any sport, no matter how obscure.
There are always super popular options available, like football, hockey, basketball, golf, and tennis - and there are usually international options for each and not just the US leagues.
Outside of these mega sports, players can generally also place bets on figure skating, swimming, the Olympics, and everything else in between. When (or if) Alaska legalizes sports gambling, I see no reason why they wouldn't gain full access to all these sports and more.
Deposit and Withdraw Methods in Alaska Gambling Sites
Since online casinos are banned, there’s no legal way to deposit and withdraw on sites such as these without breaking the law. The few legal options in Alaska are land-based, and these venues allow for standard payment methods or cash payments. If you ever decide to give a social casino, sweepstakes sites or Daily Fantasy Sports a try, then the deposit and withdrawal methods are very similar to those found at safe and secure online casinos.
Most reputable sites will offer multiple options, and you're free to choose the one that's most convenient for you. More likely than not, you'll be prompted to deposit or withdraw using a prepaid card, or a credit/debit card like MasterCard and Visa. Some will also have a branded option which is usually run by Play+. It's also common to find sites that allow the use of PayPal and Neteller. Almost all DFS and social casino sites allow you to play for free, so it's very possible to enjoy the experience without ever having to make a deposit.
Bonuses to be Offered in Alaska
Just because online casinos are off the table, it doesn't mean that players from Alaska can't experience the joy of a bonus windfall. Social casinos and sweepstakes sites are on the rise, with more and more operations such as these popping up every week.
This fierce competition means that the quality of the sites improves, and so do the bonuses they offer their players. While you won't come across the usual stash of bonus cash and free spins, you very well might find social casino offerings even more exciting.
Really well-established sites (check out our top list above) start players off with piles of native coins to play with for free. These coins don't carry a monetary value, but they can be exchanged on-site for access to exciting competitions, tournaments, and casino games. While you play, you'll win more coins to keep playing with, and most sites will also offer prize giveaways and real cash rewards.
Regulated Gambling Options in Alaska
If you read this review from top to bottom, then you already know what the regulated gambling options are in Alaska. Unfortunately for our gambling-savvy readers, the options are very limited indeed. We've divided up all the options between online and land-based gambling.
Land-based regulated gambling options:
- Dog mushing competitions
- Pull tab games
- Between three and four bingo halls, all located on tribal land
- Charitable lottery and bingo events
Online regulated gambling options:
- Daily fantasy sports (DFS)
- Play-for-fun sites
- Social Casinos
- Sweepstakes sites
If we're being honest, that was way more bullet points than we expected to produce on researching the region. This rather remote US state is sticking to its very conservative guns when it comes to online gambling, allowing just the tiniest slice of regulated gambling options.
Our thoughts on how Alaska is Developing
The short answer is that Alaska is absolutely not developing. The most recent news articles on the subject of gambling, both online and land-based, have been concerned with political push-backs against tribal attempts to expand the current availability of gambling options.
It's common for tribal and Native American culture to be enshrined in gambling entertainment. In fact, states with a tribal presence usually preside over territories that have their own gambling laws and licenses. It's not so in Alaska, where tribes are subject to stricter regulations from the wider state legislation.
Despite repeated attempts to build a modest land-based casino that extends beyond a bingo hall, it seems that Alaska will remain without it for the foreseeable future. This attitude doesn't bode well for online gambling, which would open the door for Alaskans to legally partake in gaming on a large scale. For all intents and purposes, it's extremely quiet on the Northern Front.
Alaska Online Gambling FAQs