Is any type of online gambling legal in Alabama?
- Online poker: It’s complicated.
- Online casino games: It’s complicated.
- Online sports betting: It’s complicated.
Online games are not legal and regulated in Alabama, but they are not explicitly illegal per the state laws, either. The state code does not mention any type of wagering done via the internet. Because of this, there are still a number of sites that accept Alabama players.
Getting to Know Alabama and Its Gambling History
There are a few things to know about Alabama, a state in the southeastern section of America that is bordered by Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico.
- Abbreviation: AL
- State Motto: We dare to defend our rights.
- Capital City: Montgomery
- Population Estimate: 4.8 million (24th)
- Website: https://www.alabama.gov/
Alabama does not have a long history with gambling. It is one of the states with the least amount of legal gambling. And it is one of only six states that does not participate in any type of lottery, though legislators introduce new bills nearly every year in the hopes of finding enough support to pass it.
Alabama’s Constitution declared gambling illegal in 1901, and the hard crackdown on illegal gambling establishments and connections began. It wasn’t until 1971 that the Alabama Supreme Court took on a case that ultimately ruled that pari-mutuel wagering at horse and dog tracks was constitutional, as there was an element of skill that separated it from traditional gams of chance like the lottery. That ruling paved the way for numerous tracks to open across the state.
In the late 1970s, the state also began considering a constitutional amendment to legalize bingo for the purpose of raising money for charitable organizations, and the campaign was successful. Each county must approve bingo halls to make it happen, but many have done so. Electronic bingo was approved in the early 2000s, but it has been the subject of much debate as to their legality per the definition of gambling in state laws.
The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) permitted Native American tribes to negotiate gambling contracts with their states. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians was the only tribe in Alabama to successfully complete a compact, and they since opened several casinos that offer bingo and slot machines. No table games like poker are allowed.
Definitions of gambling and other pertinent terms are listed in Title 13 of the Code of Alabama. Therein, social games in private places seem to be exempted from traditional gambling crimes. It is also important to note that there is a definition for games of chance, which could be used in various efforts to legalize some online games like poker and sports betting:
“Any contest, game, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.”
Most Recent Developments
Lawmakers in Alabama have been debating the lottery for a number of years. A new bill was introduced in 2018 to legalize the lottery, since it is one of only six states that do not currently allow it.
Since 2016, several legislators have been attempting to legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS) since the Attorney General threatened major companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to push them out of the state. Bills introduced in 2017 on both the House and Senate sides of the legislature were thought to have some support but failed to make the cut. The House passed its bill, but the Senate did not. Senator Paul Sanford put forth the Fantasy Contests Act (S.325) in early 2018 as another attempt.
The 2011 US Department of Justice decision regarding the Federal Wire Act allowed states to legalize online poker and casino games as they deemed necessary, but Alabama has yet to consider a bill to exempt those games from its gambling prohibitions.
Many states in America began 2018 in anticipation of the US Supreme Court decision about sports betting per a case brought by New Jersey. While Alabama did not join New Jersey in its case, many other states did. There are also laws passed and/or pending in many states to legalize sports betting in anticipation of a favorable outcome of the case. The decision is expected in the spring months, and many experts believe New Jersey will win the case, giving all states the authority to decide if they want their residents to wager on sports via a regulated system. Alabama is not one of those states.
Gambling Sites FAQ
Q: Can I play for real money on your recommended poker, gambling, and betting sites?
A: Yes. The sites listed on this page have long offered residents of Alabama the opportunity to play real-money online games.
Q: Does state law enforcement intend to crack down on internet gaming?
A: It seems unlikely. States like Alabama do not have the funding necessary to legally pursue offshore gaming and betting sites, ones that are regulated in other countries. And since Alabama’s laws do not even address online gambling in any way, it would be a difficult case.
Q: Should players be worried about a crackdown?
A: No. Even if the state authorities go after online operators, there is little to no danger to players being prosecuted.
Q: What if one of your recommended sites shuts down? Will I get my money?
A: Yes. These sites are reputable and have long histories of proper customer payments. Should a site withdraw from a state like Alabama per legal advice, the operator will give ample notice for withdrawals or transfers, and payments will be handled.
Q: How do I deposit and withdraw money from these sites?
A: Bitcoin is the new favorite for many players, as they can deposit and withdraw using this method. Credit cards are often welcomed for deposits, though the issuing banks make the final decision about those transactions. Non-cryptocurrency withdrawals are often done via check. Each site offers different options, and customer service representatives can assist with any more specific questions.