Alaska is the largest state in the USA but also belongs to the group of the least populated states and the ones with the strictest laws against gambling. Alaska is visited by more than 2 million tourists every year for its astonishing natural beauty, but not for its lavish casinos and gambling facilities, as all forms of gambling, except some charitable gambling that includes bingo and pull-tab games, are banned. Apart from bingo and pull-tab, bettors in Alaska can also enjoy betting on dog mushing, which is hugely popular in Alaska and is a part of their culture. Otherwise, all other forms of gambling are prohibited.

In this article, we will take you through the most important gambling laws and regulations in Alaska, and tell you where you can enjoy at least some forms of gambling when in Alaska.

The situation with online gambling in Alaska is also far from straightforward. By digging through the Alaska Statuses, you won’t find a single law that prevents you from indulging in online gaming. However, some people are frightened by one particular instance in the AS 11.66.230 that focuses on the devices used in unlawful gambling activities: “gambling device” means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of unlawful gambling, whether it consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.

However, the situation in which your device, like a smartphone or laptop, is declared illegal and possibly confiscated is quite far fetched, and no one has ever been persecuted for playing on online casinos and bookmakers, so you can freely go to offshore casinos and enjoy your favorite casino games.

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Gambling Laws in Alaska — The Law Overview

Under the Alaska State Legislation — Alaska Statuses, gambling, together with illicit and allowed forms of gambling, is defined and structured. Under the Alaska Statuses, as we mentioned before, all sorts of standard forms of gambling are strictly prohibited; however, these statuses have been amended over the years, and now allow bingo, pull-tab games and, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act from 1988, gambling facilities on Native Land that are permitted and regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

To understand how gambling is seen in the eyes of the Alaskan penal code and what is structured under the unlawful gambling, we need to go through the most important sections of the law.

Alaska Statuses — 11.66.200 Gambling Regulations

A person is in violation of the law and committing an offense of gambling if it is engaged in unlawful gambling which is not directly sanctioned by the law. Gambling is further defined under the section 11.66.280 of the Alaska Statuses in the following way: “Gambling” means that a person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent 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;”

The contest of chance is further defined under the 11.66.270 section of the Alaska Statutes: “contest of chance” means a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that the skill of the contestants may also be a factor (Poker is specified as a contest of chance.)

These regulations are quite broad definitions of what can be considered gambling and unlawful gambling at that, thus giving Alaska a lot of room to choose which games fall under which category. It boils down to the fact that, unless the game is sanctioned by Alaska, it is considered illegal.

If you are caught gambling, you are committing a violation for the first offense, while any subsequent occasions in which you are caught gambling will be deemed class B misdemeanors, so no felony charges will be brought against you.

What Forms of Gambling Are Allowed?

In the extension of the AS 11.66.200, we can see what types of gambling and gaming are allowed within Alaskan borders. The first mentioned is the use of the so-called “amusement devices” that only payout in free plays, like pinball machines, countertop machines, novelty arcade games, and even gumball machines. Following in the same line is social gaming that is allowed only if it means “gambling in a home where no house player, house bank, or house odds exist and where there is no house income from the operation of the game.” So, no small stakes games are allowed.

It is essential to point out that betting on particular outdoor activities that are deeply embedded in the Alaskan culture, such as dog musher contests, snow classics, snow machine classics, fish derbies, animal classics, cabbage classics, Calcutta pools, and others is allowed to be held by organizations that have been licensed by the Department of Revenue Tax Division. The types of bets that we can see include betting on when the first salmon will be caught in the fishing season, when the dog musher contest will begin, and so on.

Also, under the Alaska Statuses, bona fide business transactions, like life insurance or stock market purchases, are even legalized as a form of gambling, which is quite out of the ordinary. Still, after all, it does seem logical.

Finally, we come to the most widely played forms of gambling — bingo and pull-tab games. Bingo was first allowed by the Department of Revenue Tax Division back in 1960, while pull-tabs were first sanctioned in 1984.

Under the legislation, bingo and pull-tabs are required to support charity organizations, and all proceeds must go for “political, educational, civic, public, charitable, patriotic, or religious” cause. In an unusual plot twist, the Department of Revenue Tax Division provides cash and other prizes to participants.

Bingo games are available to players over the age of 19, while the pull-tabs can only be played by citizens aged 21 or more.

Where to Gamble in Alaska?

As there are no land-based casinos in Alaska, not at least in the form we know them, it would seem challenging to look for a place to gamble. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Various bingo halls feature bingo and pull-tabs you can enjoy.

Eagle River Bingo & Casino

Despite having a casino in its name, Eagle River Bingo & Casino is just a bingo hall located on

12130 Regency Drive, Eagle River, AK, 99577. It is a bingo hall that is striving to offer complete entertainment to its visitors with 12 Bingo games every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting at 7:30 pm, and 26 pull-tab games for an additional thrill. Also, there is a cafe, snack bar, and a bowling alley so that the entire family can find something to their liking.

Lucky Boniface Bingo

One of the newest and most popular bingo halls in Alaska is located in Anchorage, 60 Boniface Pkwy, AK 99504, and goes under the name Lucky Boniface. Lucky Boniface is home to 250 bingo seats and a great variety of bingo and pull-tabs games such as 5-Card Stud, Bananas, and KOTB. The daily payouts at Lucky Boniface are set at $10,000, and the party starts at 5 pm every day with particular types of bingo scheduled, depending on the day of the week.

Northern Lights Bingo

Northern Lights Bingo is the oldest bingo hall in Anchorage, Alaska. Located on 703 W Northern Lights Blvd #100A, it is a place where around 300 players can enjoy a great variety of bingo, and pull-tabs games from 11 am when they open. It is also the only bingo hall that offers daytime bingo, with draws scheduled at 1 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also, there is a full-service Deli shop located inside of bingo hall, as well as free parking and enclosed and heated smoking area.

Tudor Bingo Center

Tudor Bingo Center is the largest bingo hall in Alaska with over a thousand seats for all bingo aficionados out there. They have been around since 1993 and have changed a couple of venues over the years only to settle in a brand new hall in 2014 on1436 E Tudor Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507, United States. Tudor Bingo Center pays out $100,000 a week in guaranteed cash bingo prizes and has the right choice of pull-tabs games as well. Since their opening, they have distributed over $35 million for charities in their community.

FAQ

Are casinos legal in Alaska?

Operating casinos in Alaska can only be allowed on Native American Land and only after the Native Tribe has fulfilled certain conditions set by the US Government and National Indian Gaming Commission.

Is online poker legal in Alaska?

Online gambling is not allowed in Alaska per se, but accessing offshore poker sites is not against the law and is not sanctioned.

What games can you gamble on in Alaska?

You can gamble on bingo, pull-tabs, and wager on specific races and games native to Alaska and sanctioned by the Department of Revenue Tax Division.

Do Alaska Bingo halls have casino table games?

No. Bingo halls in Alaska can’t offer casino table games.

What is the legal age for playing at bingo halls?

Players must be over 19 to enter bingo halls.