Across the fifty states in the US, there is an ever-growing trend of gambling expansion. Many states are expanding their gambling laws in order to allow more and more types of gambling. There is now a transition over to the likes of online gambling and sports betting. Even a lot of states that would traditionally be conservative when it comes to gambling are now considering legislation to open up its laws.
In Alaska, there has not been much of a movement on that front in recent times. It is one of the more restrictive states when it comes to gambling in the country. This article looks at what forms of gambling are legal in Alaska and what may be in store in the future for the state and its residents.
The ways in which Alaskans can gamble
Unlike most other states that have a history of gambling dating back into the 19th century, there have always been heavy restrictions in place in Alaska. There have not been periods where gambling has been largely legal and then outlawed like in most other states. There has generally been a solid negative position held in the state when it comes to gambling expansion.
One of the big industries in Alaska during the summer months is cruise ships. This is thanks to the beautiful landscapes that exist in the nation. A lot of these cruises also allow for gambling, which is another major attraction.
As soon as the ship is in Canadian territory or in international waters the casinos on these cruise ships will open up for business. These often have wide-ranging casino games and slot machines for its patrons to enjoy.
While there is no legal online gambling that exists in Alaska, there are those who use illegal offshore gambling platforms that target Alaskan residents. There is not a law in place in Alaska that specifically outlaws online gambling either, so it is technically not illegal, especially because nobody has ever been prosecuted for doing so in the region.
One of the main forms of legal gambling in Alaska is through its charity gaming laws. This allows for some very quirky types of betting. One of these quirky types of betting is trying to predict have many salmon will go through a port, having dog mushing contests and predicting when the first crane in the summer will arrive. There are also allowances for home games of social poker, once the person hosting the event is not taking money for hosting this game or taking a rake out of the pots.
Is Gambling Legal in Alaska? The nitty-gritty
In a lot of states that do not have legal gambling for commercial ventures, there is tribal gambling in existence. However, there is no tribal land in Alaska under a strict definition. There have been a number of court cases in relation to this classification over the years in Alaska, with no tribes successfully being able to open proper casinos. Instead, they rely on offering the likes of pull-tab cards and bingo games with low prizes.
There are not even any poker rooms anywhere in the region. Rarely, Alaska is also one of the only states in the entire nation that does not have a state lottery. There is also no ability for residents to take part in inter-state lotteries either. The closest form of gambling to the lottery that is allowable is pull-tabs. They are effectively a more primitive version of a scratch card.
Are there any changes on the horizon?
It does not look like anything will be changing in Alaska in the near future with regards to gambling. The lawmakers appear to be happy to continue out as they are going, forgoing the lucrative tax revenues and boost to the state economy that gambling expansion could bring with it.
Residents do not kick up much of a fuss either about gambling expansion, so there is not much drive for changes to happen. Until such a time when changes to occur, people will have to rely on bingo, home poker games and pull-tabs for their gambling needs.