Is Sports Betting Legal in Alaska

When you think of sports betting, or even gambling of any kind, Alaska isn't a state that immediately pops into your brain. And that's because when you think of Alaska, sports in general aren't at the forefront of your mind. They don't have any major teams, either in college or at the pro level, so you're not going to pay much attention to their sporting scene. Still, for residents of Alaska, it's important to understand the betting laws and regulations. [+]

After all, just because your home doesn't play host to any marquee teams by traditional standards, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to enjoy a little sports gambling every now and then.

Or does it?

Alaska Sports Betting Law

Few provinces in the United States are as restrictive as Alaska when it comes to sports betting and gambling in general. There are various workarounds, but for the most part, wagering of any kind outside charitable ventures is strictly prohibited. Not even Tribal gambling is around, in large part because Alaska is so far removed from the continental United States, and because it's steeped in its own domestic history and committed to more traditional ideals.

Charitable Gambling Is Legal, But Complicated

Although you are allowed to bet in a charitable setting, it's not under usual circumstances. You won't catch organizations trying to raise money via sports betting or casino games. Dog mushing is a popular form of racing in Alaska, so you may catch wind of that, but you're otherwise looking at 50-50 raffles, some form of fishing and things of that nature.

And even those are subject to very stringent state guidelines. It can oftentimes be tough to secure licenses for these events, regardless of the cause.

Social Gambling: A No-Go

Thinking about having your friends over for a poker night? Or maybe for a casino night, complete with a homemade roulette table and some black jack? Or perhaps you want to run an office pool for the upcoming Olympics or the Super Bowl? Heck, maybe you just want to put a friendly wager on the outcome of anything at all—something among friends.

Well, that's a no-go. Social gambling is also prohibited in the state of Alaska right now. There will be people who do it, because there are always people willing to break rules, but it cannot be anything even close to official, and it must be discreet.

Online Gambling: A Gray Area

Similar to many other states that haven't really updated their gambling laws, Alaska doesn't specify a protocol for online gaming. Most of their policies and regulations were implemented before the internet boon, which in turn means they weren't written with overseas gambling in mind.

Bettors can interpret this gray area as implicit legality, but again: There's nothing on record to protect your investments or winnings. And because there is nothing that definitively sanctions online gambling, you'll want to be discreet with how you go about it. Wagering vast amounts of money that must be flagged by banks and the government is just asking for trouble.

Fantasy Betting Is Illegal

While there is nothing concrete on the books that renders online betting illegal, daily fantasy sports wagering does fall under the restricted umbrella—which is a testament to how fuzzy the details are with regard to online betting in general.

At any rate, if you live in Alaska, steer clear of sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings. They most likely won't even allow you to sign up, and even if by some chance they do, good luck acquiring your winnings or withdrawing your initial deposits without some form of red tape.

Alaska Gambling Law Overview

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

  • Casino Gambling: Not legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Not legal
  • Poker: Unspecified (but, again, social, casino and tribal gambling are illegal, so you're limited to online poker at best)
  • Horse-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Dog Mushing: Legal
  • Other Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Not legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not legal
  • Social Gambling: Not legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Unspecified

Alaska Sports Teams

University of Alaska Anchorage (College Basketball)

Collegiate sports as the University of Alaska Anchorage are limited basically to track and field, cross country, gymnastics, basketball and ice hockey. The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves basketball squad appears to be the most popular squad of the bunch, but you likely won't find online sportsbooks peddling lines on their games.

University of Alaska Fairbanks (College Ice Hockey)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers the same restrictive menu of sports teams as the University of Alaska Anchorage. At this location, however, the men's ice hockey team is their bread and butter, as opposed to either the men's or women's basketball organizations. Once again, though, best of luck trying to find lines for this slate of Division II sports.

Anchorage Bucs Baseball Club (College Baseball)

This summer-only college baseball squad is an official member of the Alaska Baseball League. They've been a part of the ABL since 1981 and seem to have the strongest fanbase of any other participants.

Alaska's Biggest Sporting Event

The Iditarod is a 1,000-mile dog-sled race. It's run sometime in March, spanning from Settler's Bay to Nome. It can be seen on TV, and while you might be hard-pressed to find betting options for it in Alaska, there will be sportsbooks that offer lines for it each and every year. Got skin in the game? Study up on Siberian Huskies!