Is Sports Betting Legal in Alabama?

Like a few other provinces in the United States, Alabama is not a hotbed for professional sports. They boast an array of minor league MLB affiliates, but that's the extent of their pro-level offerings. Colleges sports are more their bag. They have 11 teams of note, with the Auburn Tigers and Crimson Tide drawing more national interest than any other outfits. While the sports betting scene isn't anything to write home about, Alabama residents do have the flexibility to get their fix.

Alabama Sports Betting Law

According to the Federal Wire Act, sports betting is unequivocally illegal in Alabama. That being said, these rules apply only to live sports betting, meaning you cannot own, operate or (illegally) patron a sportsbook in the state itself. But, as with almost all other places subject to the same law, online gambling is excluded from this umbrella. You can confidently, and legally, use any of the below sites to place your wagers and enjoy the thrill sports betting without doing anything wrong.

Live Sports Betting in Alabama

Live sports betting is not allowed in Alabama.

You cannot legally use a bookmaker or sportsbook. If you want to place wagers on live events, both at the collegiate and professional levels, you're best off taking to the host of online options at your disposal. The Federal Wire Act, fortunately, does not abolish the use of that. 

Legal Electronic Gaming 

One of the weirder things about Alabama betting laws is how open to interpretation they are. Though the state is very stringent about what it doesn't allow, it has permitted the opening of a few mid-scale electronic-based casinos, three of which operate are full-blown tribal casinos.

You won't be able to bet on sporting events at these establishments, and what's weirder, the state doesn't allow any of these places to use traditional slots, blackjack and poker games, among others, to supplement their business. E-bingo is popular, as are a few other electronic options, but you're fairly limited in terms of what you can do on-site when gambling in 'Bama.

Fantasy Sports Betting in Alabama

Despite a rigid approach to gambling laws, Alabama has been among some of the most active states when it comes to legalizing fantasy betting free and clear.

Despite a few hiccups in the process, a bill passed back in April 2017 that implemented protocols for daily fantasy betting. Operating establishments will be footing rather hefty fees on an annual basis to make this possible, and winnings are supposed to be closely regulated and reported, but Alabama has at least made it possible to partake in a fast-growing industry.

Changes to Gambling Laws Maybe Be on the Horizon

Alabama gambling laws have been heavily scrutinized and criticized in recent years. They haven't been thoroughly modified in quite a while, and the uber-specific language used and regulations imposed are often considered antiquated. With the relative support of fantasy sports betting as a precedent now, though, we could see changes to policies sometime in the near future—potentially good news for those hoping to get their live-action gambling on.

Alabama Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren't allowed in Alabama at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Not legal (but they do have e-casinos)
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Not legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Legal
  • Lottery: Not legal (despite ongoing attempt to legalize it)
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Legal
  • Social Gambling: Legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Unspecified

Alabama Sports Teams

Alabama Crimson Tide (College Football)

College football is huge in Alabama, and no team receives more love than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Coached by Nick Saban since 2007, they are one of the biggest powerhouses in the country, routinely appearing in and winning bowl games. In the last two years alone, they've played for two National Championships, going 1-1 in the process.

Auburn Tigers (College Football)

Once again, it's all about college football, this time with the Auburn Tigers. Since taking over as head coach in 2013, Gus Malzahn has turned the program into a quasi-juggernaut. Auburn has four bowl appearances, including a BCS Championship cameo, in the last four years. They're just 1-3 in those outings, but hey, they get cool points for remaining so relevant.

Troy Trojans (College Football)

The Troy Trojans' college football squad will never stack up to the Tigers or Crimson Tide, but they've developed a strong following over the years—not cult-esque, but not national-scale either. They are working off a dollar general bowl game win in 2016 under head coach Neal Brown, who has helped turn the program around after a few years of relative obscurity.

Alabama's Biggest Sporting Event

The Iron Bowl

This sounds like a college football bowl game, right? Well, it's not—not officially anyway.

Rather, it's simply an annual regular-season game between the two biggest college football powerhouses in the state, the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers.

The winner gets bragging rights for entire year, while it's not unusual to see the fans from losing teams appear emotionally distressed.

The intensity in this game is such that visiting supporters must take care when displaying colors for their side of the fence. The home fans don't take kindly to who they deem enemy intruders, especially if they end up on the losing side of things.