How Alabama is Looking to Legalize Sports Betting
In Alabama, the government heavily restricts online sports betting. Neighboring Mississippi, however, recently changed its laws to allow sports betting at brick-and-mortar locations for those over the age of 21. With more and more states legalizing it, and to prevent people from hopping state borders to place bets in Mississippi, we might soon see sports betting become a legal form of gambling in Alabama. The legal gambling age in AL is 21 in casinos but 18 in pari-mutuel facilities. Lawmakers will likely opt for the higher limit if they introduce sports betting to impose some stronger controls.
When it comes to legalizing betting on sports online, Alabama has already made a few key moves. House Representative John W. Rogers has submitted HB 336 for consideration to the Committee on Economic Development and Tourism. If this bill makes it into law, the state will introduce new regulations that will allow sports betting online. Residents in AL will be able to enjoy this pastime without having to visit a neighboring state.
You can follow the progress of HB 336 on this page.
The Push to Allow Gambling at Casinos in Alabama
With a traditionally conservative background, it is unsurprising to find that there are few opportunities for casino gambling in Alabama. Thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, you can head to several tribal casinos owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The state government has opposed these casinos, but they have managed to stay open despite the state taking action against them. The resorts of Biloxi, Mississippi are also around an hour’s drive away. Alabama permits betting on some pari-mutuel events like greyhound racing.
However, when it comes to finding a regulated casino online, residents in AL will find little to choose from. Many overseas sites might claim to offer play here, but players should not consider them safe as the state government does not regulate them.
It is unlikely that we will soon see a bill that aims to legalize casino gambling in Alabama. If one does appear, you will be able to follow its progress here on this page.
Is it Possible to Play Online Poker in Alabama?
A similar story emerges for poker. Like casinos, poker sites are not a legal form of gambling in Alabama. You should not trust any overseas sites that claim to welcome players from AL, as the state government does not regulate them. The legality of online poker is a real issue and you should not engage in betting at any sites that claim to offer a workaround to the laws.
It is also unlikely that these attitudes will change anytime soon. If the state includes poker in any bill to regulate casino gambling, you will be able to find details on this page.
The Top Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Alabama
In 2019, Alabama passed HB 361, allowing the state to properly regulate daily fantasy sports. Residents in the Yellowhammer State can now sign up for several different sites to play at. Check out some of our favorites here:
The Back and Forth of Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Alabama
In Alabama, daily fantasy sports existed but operators had left the state in 2016 when then-Attorney General Luther Strange opined that they were illegal. Three years later a group of Representatives filed HB 361 which overturned this and in June 2019 Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law.
Most interestingly, this new bill gave the companies who had been operating in Alabama before a clearing period of up to 180 days to re-establish themselves before opening a free market. This included popular operators FanDuel and DraftKings.
Alabama Doesn’t Have a State Lottery
There is no lottery in Alabama. It is one of five states that does not offer this style of game. With its position right in the heart of the Bible Belt and more conservative attitudes, it is not surprising that a lottery has never formed.
To form a lottery here, the voters of Alabama would need to pass a referendum. The last time they had the chance to do so was back in 1999 when they elected Don Siegelman to the post of Governor with pro-lottery policies. 54% of voters rejected the lottery. The funds from the lottery would have gone to education, mainly K-12 funds and college tuition. If AL held another referendum on a lottery, the funds would no doubt go to similar recipients.
Keep an eye on this page for updates to see if the Yellowhammer State proposes a new referendum about introducing a lottery.
Other Important Gambling Facts About Alabama
If HB 336 makes it into law, sportsbooks would need to pay a tax of 10% on gross revenue earned from those engaging in sports gambling in Alabama. The state will give licenses to pari-mutuel facilities for an initial fee of $100,000. Licenses will last five years and will cost $100,000 for each renewal.
All daily fantasy sports operators in Alabama must register with the Attorney General. Operators with a national revenue of over $10 million must pay an initial and then annual renewal fee of $85,000. This is $1000 for all other operators. The state sets the tax rate for all operators at 10.5% of gross revenue.
The Future of Gambling in Alabama
Is gambling legal in Alabama? The state may highly restrict it, but that doesn’t mean that change is not coming. The new sports betting bill and the legalization of daily fantasy sports spell out some great things for the Yellowhammer State. Further regulation of gambling in AL might be closer at hand than we think.