Alaska is one of the least gambling-friendly states in the country and they are perfectly comfortable that way. It’s not likely that The Last Frontier state is going to have a change of heart any time soon since Alaska’s lawmakers are pretty vocal about their stance. But Alaskans prove their creativity by finding interesting and unique ways to lay down a wager, as you’ll see.
Alaska Legal Gambling History
There isn’t much of a history for Alaska’s legal gambling, sadly.
In 1960 the state legalized charitable gaming and bingo and then legalized pull-tabs in 1984.
Alaska Gambling Legal Status
Alaska gambling laws are restrictive, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get away with placing a bet or two in-state.
Land-based casino gambling such as poker, slots, blackjack, craps, roulette, and other table games are illegal. The same goes for all forms of online gambling in Alaska.
Sports betting is illegal in Alaska. You won’t even find a horse track in the state. This could be due to the climate, possibly culture. Although, dog mushing (sledding) races are legal to bet on, as are salmon fishing contests. They are the very few forms of gambling allowed in the state.
Dog mushing and other unique types of gambling entertainment are covered under the state’s charitable gaming laws, which also allows for bingo. Some of the state’s tribes do have bingo halls. Other than that it’s reserved for charity purposes.
Alaska does not permit for a state lottery but does sell pull-tab cards.
Alaska Legal Gambling Options
You would think that the best solution to Alaska’s casino crises is to hop the border into Canada, and it might be – at least for part of the year anyway. Neighboring Canada is the remote Yukon territory that is home to one of the only casinos anywhere near the Alaskan border – Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall in Dawson City, opening yearly from May to September.
Diamond Tooth is notable because its the oldest casino in Canada. It’s also the only Canadian casino where players are allowed to drink alcohol, gamble, and watch live entertainment at the same time.
Diamond Tooth’s gaming isn’t extensive, but it’s at least something. Gerties is home to 64 slot machines, poker, blackjack, and roulette.
About 50 miles south of the border, Chances Casino is located in Prince Rupert, British Columbia with 100 slots, poker, and video gaming machines.
Alaska is home to any number of casino cruises. All that’s necessary for players to enjoy slots, poker, and blackjack is to set sail 3 miles out into international waters or Canadian waters – depending on the season of course.
There is nothing on the books that states the legality of online gambling one way or another, only that it’s illegal to facilitate it. This means that players in the state of Alaska have the opportunity to access offshore sites to bet on online poker and sports within the law.
Fans of gambling in Alaska also take advantage of the state’s unique charity gaming laws. One way in which Alaskans enjoy gambling is guessing the time’s in dog mushing (dog sled racing) contests. People find other uncommon ways to wager among each other, such as guessing how many cans of salmon pass through the port.
Alaska relaxes a little bit when it comes to social gambling laws. Residents may participant in home poker games just as long as there is no profit from hosting.
Alaska Legal Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting
Both daily fantasy sports and sports betting are illegal in Alaska and will likely stay that way for some time, just like other forms of gambling in the state.
Alaska Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in the state of Alaska?
Alaska doesn’t allow for most types of gambling, not even a state lottery. Alaskan law permits for the following:
- Charitable gaming which also includes betting on dog sled racing and fishing contests.
- Pull-tab games.
- Social gambling.