Gambling Laws and Online Poker in Alaska
2021 Update: Is Online Poker Legal in Alaska?
There’s still no online poker regulation in Alaska and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. Alaska is a large state, the largest in terms of landmass actually, but it has quite a small and conservative population that hasn’t historically been open to gambling. There have been some baby steps though. In 2013, Alaska allowed online advertising for gambling and in 2016 the state expanded charitable gaming.
But when a flurry of states started legalizing sports betting, Alaska didn’t follow. Sports betting has been a pretty good indicator as to whether a state will legalize online poker. It shows a willingness to accept new online forms of gaming, but Alaska hasn’t made any significant moves on that front.
If they do, we’ll be the first to update you.
What are Alaska’s Gambling Laws and How do They Affect Poker?
Every state has its own set of laws regulating gambling and Alaska is now different. Alaska has a few different laws concerning gaming, including the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1986. This allowed Native American tribes across the state to open and operate commercial casinos.
The other laws concerning gambling are covered by the Alaska State Statutes. Sec 11.66.200 of those statutes covers gambling. Gambling laws vary state-by-state because each state defines gambling differently. Alaska defines gambling as:
“Staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or future contingent event not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that person will receive something of value in event of a certain outcome.”
Most states use the word “chance” as the building block that the rest of the gambling statute is built upon. This also separates poker from the rest of the crowd because it was ruled to be a game of skill by a federal judge in 2012. But here we see there’s another qualifier: future contingent. It’s impossible to argue that every hand of poker isn’t dependent on a future contingent.
Can I Play Online Poker on PokerStars in Alaska?
There are plenty of things you can do in Alaska, but playing poker on PokerStars isn’t one of them. PokerStars hasn’t been available in Alaska since the events of Black Friday in 2011. The drama and legal ramifications of that have simmered down ever since and now PokerStars is bubbling back up in the US. PokerStars is only back in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But it’s a limited version of the site tailored to each state.
Luckily for poker players, there are still sites that accept players from all 50 states. Sites like Bovada, BetOnline and Ignition Poker have become pretty good PokerStars alternatives for poker players in Alaska and the rest of the United States. They still have large players pools, generous sign-up bonuses and rakeback programs as well as a plethora of cash games.
If you want more information on these sites, check out our full reviews below:
Can I Gamble Legally in Alaska?
Yes! There are a few gambling options for people looking to wager in Alaska. And by a few, we mean two. Alaska has fewer gambling options than most states. So far, Alaska only has charitable gaming and Native American gaming facilities.
They’re Class II gaming facilities, not full casinos. These came into existence after the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1986. There are currently only a few of these kinds of gaming facilities , the Eagle River Bingo & Casino and the Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall. As Class II gaming facilities, these places don’t have full gaming tables like craps or blackjack.
Charitable gaming is the other option in Alaska. The state legislature passed a law in 2016 called the Alaska Gaming Reform Act. This act expanded charitable gaming to offer a few more options like raffles and pull tabs. The act also made bingo an option in the state. Maybe one day they’ll expand it to include online poker, but for now, that doesn’t look likely.
We’ll tell you if it changes.
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