Alaska Gambling Laws 2023: Uncover the New Rules & Regulations

Alaska, with its stunning landscapes and untamed wilderness, is a paradise for thrill-seekers. However, it strictly controls gambling activities. The state’s approach towards gambling is predominantly prohibitive, allowing only a handful of exceptions within this overall restrictive landscape. Many forms of gambling, including casinos, poker, and sports betting, are explicitly limited under Alaska’s law, marking a significant difference from the more liberal regulations seen in other states.

This exploration delves deep into the specifics of Alaska gambling laws, aiming to provide readers with a nuanced understanding of how the state governs this sector. Given the complexities and specifics that make up the Alaskan regulatory approach towards gambling, this exposition will provide a comprehensive look into the mechanics and guiding principles that currently underpin gambling activities in this majestic frontier state.

Alaska Gambling Laws

Guide to Alaska’s Gambling Laws, History and Venues

  • 🏛️Land-Based Gambling – Land-based gambling is permitted, but only for Bingo.
  • 🌐Online Gambling – Online gambling is allowed, but only for daily fantasy sports and skill games. The law does not explicitly address online casinos, sportsbooks, or poker rooms, so playing on offshore platforms is possible, albeit technically illegal.
  • 🎟️Lottery – Alaska does not have a state lottery. The only lottery-style gaming allowed is the purchase of pull-tab games from a licensed vendor.
  • ❤️Charitable Gaming – Charitable gaming is legal and includes Bingo and pull tabs.
  • 🎰Alaska Casinos – Alaska has no casinos, neither commercial nor tribal.
  • 🃏Alaska Poker – Poker is only legal as a social, in-home game where no commercial profit can be made.
  • 🏈Alaska Sports Betting – The only form of sports betting permitted is wagering on dog-mushing contests.
  • Alaska Daily Fantasy Sports – Participating in daily fantasy sports contests is considered legal, as these are viewed as skill-based games.
  • 🔵Alaska Bingo – Land-based Bingo is the only form of commercial gaming offered legally in Alaska.
  • 😊Alaska Tribal Gaming – Tribes in Alaska are not permitted to organize gaming under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act due to their status as “corporations” instead of sovereign nations.

Land-Based and Online Gambling in Alaska

Alaska offers limited options when it comes to land-based gambling establishments. The state follows a policy that restricts land-based gambling activities to charitable events, primarily focusing on bingo games. On the other hand, online gambling poses a different set of challenges in Alaska due to the absence of specific legislation. Let’s delve into each aspect in more detail.

Land-Based Gambling

Land-based gambling in Alaska is primarily confined to Bingo, permitted only under the jurisdiction of charitable organizations. This “Bingo-only” policy illustrates the conservative stance of the state towards gambling activities. 

The types of land-based gambling allowed include:

  • Charitable Gaming (Bingo and Pull-Tabs)
  • Dog Mushing Contests
  • Social Card Games (only in private residences)

The absence of casinos and race tracks underscores the stringent measures against land-based gambling. 

Online Gambling in Alaska

There’s no explicit law prohibiting online gambling in the state of Alaska. However, Alaska law does not permit any gambling activities not expressly authorized by the state. It means gambling online, or using an online gambling site, could technically be considered illegal in the state. Although there haven’t been any notable prosecutions of individuals for online gambling, the lack of clear laws and potential risks should not be ignored.

The regulation of online games in Alaska falls into a gray area. Many online poker sites, online casinos, and online betting platforms accept players from Alaska, but they operate offshore. This has left Alaskans in a confusing spot when it comes to playing games online.

Types of Gambling in Alaska

Alaska has a distinct approach to various forms of gambling, with some types being legal and others falling into the realm of illegality. Let’s explore the specific types of gambling and their legal status within the state.

Alaska Casinos

Alaska is one of the few states without any operational casinos, a testament to its strict gambling laws. This prohibition applies not only to standalone casinos but also to casino games in general, regardless of the venue in which they are hosted. 

Alaska Poker

Poker’s legal standing in Alaska is a matter of discussion due to the game’s mixed characteristic of luck and skill. Despite the lack of clarity, poker games, in most cases, are deemed illegal unless they are private, low-stakes games held in residences, free from any organized structure or profit-making intent. 

Alaska Sports Betting

Interestingly, the single allowed form of sports betting in Alaska is dog mushing sweepstakes. This narrow exception reflects the cultural significance of dog mushing in the state. As for the broader scope of sports betting, it remains prohibited, consistent with the constraints enforced by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. 

Alaska Daily Fantasy Sports

Regarding daily fantasy sports, Alaska does not have explicit laws that either permit or prohibit these activities. The inherent ambiguity allows some companies to offer these services, although the state’s traditional hard-line stance towards gambling might imply otherwise. 

Alaska Lotteries

Unlike most states, Alaska does not run a state lottery, and the sale of lottery tickets is considered illegal. Alaskans looking for lottery games often participate in multi-state lotteries by purchasing tickets from other jurisdictions. 

Charitable and Tribal Gaming in Alaska

Alaska allows for limited charitable gaming activities, primarily centered around bingo and pull-tab contests. Additionally, tribal gaming plays a significant role in the state. Let’s delve into these aspects in more detail.

Charitable Gaming

Charitable gaming in Alaska is primarily limited to Bingo and pull-tab games. These games, overseen by the Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division, must adhere strictly to regulations under Alaska’s charitable gaming laws. The charitable organization must utilize the proceeds for its stated purpose, offering a social benefit.

Tribal Gaming

Alaskan tribes face unique challenges when it comes to gaming due to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). While IGRA allows tribes to operate casinos in states where other forms of gambling are permitted, Alaskan tribes have been unable to organize gaming activities under this act. As a result, tribal gaming remains limited in Alaska.

Gambling Age and Penalties in Alaska

Understanding the legal age requirements for different types of gambling is crucial to avoid any legal consequences. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the penalties for engaging in unlawful gambling activities within the state.

The legal age for participating in various forms of gambling in Alaska is:

  • Bingo: 19 years
  • Dog Mushing Contests: No age restriction
  • Social Card Games (private residences): No specified legal age but generally accepted as 18 years

This varies for different games, reflecting the inherent differences between them. 

Penalties for Unlawful Gambling

In Alaska, engaging in unlawful gambling activities can attract serious penalties. According to the Alaska Code, section 11.66.200, et. seq., both participants and organizers can face charges that range from misdemeanor to felony-level offenses depending on the scale and nature of the illegal gambling activity. 

History of Gambling in Alaska


In the early days, particularly during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s, Alaska had a more open-minded attitude towards gambling. Games of chance and betting were prevalent forms of entertainment during this era.

Early to Mid 20th Century

However, with Alaska’s evolution as a state, its legal perspective towards gambling began to shift. This period saw a gradual tightening of Alaska’s gambling laws.

Late 20th Century

A brief interlude to this trend occurred when the Alaska Gaming Reform Act was introduced. This act was aimed at liberalizing the state’s gambling laws. However, due to lack of sufficient support, the act did not pass, and the strict legislation regarding gambling was reinstated swiftly.


Today, the outcome of these historical developments is a restrictive framework governing gambling in Alaska. This state remains one of the few in the U.S where most forms of gambling are still prohibited. This change in attitude towards gambling has been deeply influenced by Alaska’s cultural history and the state’s intention to curb the negative social impacts associated with gambling.

Alaska Gambling Laws, Regulations, And Statutory Requirements

According to Alaska Statutes (AS 11.66.200), a person commits the offense of gambling if the person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future event not under the person’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that that person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. Unlawful gambling is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Possession of gambling records in the first degree (AS 11.66.230) and promotion of an unlawful gambling enterprise (AS 11.66.280) are class C felonies in Alaska. A person possesses a gambling record used or intended for use in the advancement or operation of an unlawful gambling enterprise if the person knowingly possesses a record, receipt, ticket, certificate, token, slip, or notation used, or designed to be used in connection with unlawful gambling.

In Alaska, the structure governing tribal gaming is a composite of regulations that are influenced by federal, state, and tribal laws. Predominantly defined under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C §2701 et seq., the legislative framework creates a hierarchy of gaming activities, categorized into Class I, Class II, and Class III. This multi-tiered classification governs the means by which different gaming activities are authorized and regulated within the state.

Classifications of Gaming: Class I, Class II, and Class III

  • Class I Gaming encompasses social games intended for minimal prizes and traditional or ceremonial games specific to Native tribes. The tribes can conduct Class I games freely, without any need for a state agreement.
  • Class II Gaming covers activities like bingo and non-banked card games. Unlike Class I, Class II requires regulation but does not obligate the tribe to enter into agreements at the state level. Tribal governments regulate Class II gaming, with oversight provided by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Alaska, being one of the four U.S. states limited to Class II gaming only, has specific rules and regulations pertaining to this classification.
  • Class III Gaming includes more extensive forms of gambling, such as casino-style gaming. Class III gaming requires the execution of a tribal-state gaming compact that must receive approval from both the state and federal governments.

Specifics of Class II Gaming Regulation in Alaska

Federal-Level Regulation
Within Alaska, Class II gaming is overseen through the tribal government’s adoption of a gaming ordinance that has been approved by the NIGC. To be in compliance, the ordinance must include provisions for annual independent audits of gaming activities. Contracts exceeding $25,000 related to gaming must also be subjected to independent audits.

Background Checks and Licensing
Ensuring the integrity of the gaming operation, thorough background investigations must be conducted on the primary management officials and key employees of the gaming enterprise. The tribe is required to inform the NIGC of the outcomes of these background checks before issuing any licenses.

Utilization of Net Revenues
Under the guidelines for Class II gaming, the net revenues must be channelized for purposes that align with tribal welfare and development.

  • Specifically, these revenues must be utilized to:
  • Fund tribal government operations or programs
  • Provide for the welfare of the Indian tribe and its members
  • Promote economic growth within the tribal community
  • Contribute to charitable organizations
  • Assist in funding local government agency operations

Alaska’s gaming laws and statutory requirements offer a clear, organized, and multi-layered approach to regulating different gaming activities. By understanding the distinctions between Class I, II, and III gaming, as well as the specific provisions for Class II gaming in Alaska, it’s evident that there is a strong emphasis on transparency, integrity, and social responsibility within the gaming industry in the state. The combined federal, state, and tribal oversight ensures that gaming in Alaska is conducted in a manner that respects both legal norms and the cultural heritage of its Native tribes.

Alaska Gaming Options

While casino gambling is prohibited in Alaska, there are still a few gambling options that are legal in the state. For example, social gambling – playing a game of chance or skill in a social setting, with no operator making a profit – is permitted in Alaska. However, it’s essential to note that any promotion of an unlawful gambling enterprise could lead to legal consequences.

Charity gambling is also legal in Alaska. Bingo halls are prevalent, offering games of chance where proceeds go to charity. Similarly, pull tabs, a game similar to a lottery, are allowed for charitable purposes. However, traditional slot machines are not permitted in Alaska.

Future of Gambling in Alaska

Given the restrictive nature of Alaska’s gambling laws, any future expansion of gambling will likely require significant changes to the state’s statutes. While the legalization of more forms of gambling could bring economic benefits, such changes would have to balance the potential social harms associated with gambling. It remains to be seen if such changes will occur, and until then, Alaska’s gambling laws are likely to remain among the most restrictive in the country.


Alaska maintains strict gambling laws that limit the scope of gambling activities within the state. While land-based gambling is primarily focused on charitable events, online gambling operates in a legal gray area due to the absence of specific legislation. The future outlook for changes in Alaska gambling laws remains uncertain.

As with any legal matter, it’s crucial to stay informed and updated on the latest developments in Alaska gambling laws to ensure compliance and avoid any legal complications. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, understanding the intricacies of the state’s gambling laws will help you make informed decisions when engaging in gambling activities in Alaska.



There's no explicit law prohibiting online gambling in Alaska. However, since the state doesn't expressly authorize online gambling, it could be technically considered illegal.

Legal forms of gambling in Alaska include social gambling, charitable gambling (Bingo and pull-tabs), and tribal gaming under specific conditions.

As of now, there are no casinos in Alaska due to stringent state laws against casino gambling.

Although many offshore online poker sites accept players from Alaska, playing poker online resides in a gray area due to the absence of clear state regulations.

The legal age for participating in Bingo is 19 years. For social card games held in private residences, there's no specified legal age but it is generally accepted as 18 years.

Engaging in illegal gambling in Alaska can lead to violation charges punishable by a fine of up to $500. Serious offenses, such as the promotion of an unlawful gambling enterprise, can lead to felony charges.