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Gambling in Alabama
Given its status as one of the most conservative U.S. states, it's no surprise Alabama isn’t much of a gambling hub. That means legal online gambling in Alabama is nonexistent, and change doesn’t look like it’s going to be on the horizon anytime soon.
Alabama takes illegal gambling very seriously. Any business or person caught breaking the law can be charged with a class A misdemeanor and sentenced for up to a year in prison and fined up to $6,000. There are three casinos on Native American land that offer limited forms of gaming, as well as horse and greyhound tracks. Besides those avenues, and not-for-profit charity events, there's not much else.
Timeline of Gambling Legislation in Alabama
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, 25 US Code § 2701, is signed at the federal level, giving tribes the power to carve out gambling exceptions. Unlike other states that have allowed multiple tribes to host casinos, Alabama has just one. Even though there are nine American Indian tribes in the state, only the Poarch Band of Creek Indians manages gaming facilities. Currently the tribe owns three casinos in Alabama.
The constitution is amended to allow charity gambling.
Pari-mutuel betting on greyhounds and horses is ruled legal by the Supreme Court. Under the terms of the ruling, cities with at least 300,000 inhabitants are allowed to vote on whether they wish to allow betting on horse and greyhound racing. Cities with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants don't have the right to offer this type of sports betting. As it stands, no cities in Alabama have voted to allow horse racing bets. In contrast, there is a greyhound track in Birmingham. Today the track offers only simulcast racing thanks to video feeds from Birmingham.
The Alabama constitution officially outlaws all forms of gambling: “[Gambling is when someone] stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence.” By adopting a broad interpretation of this statute, lawmakers have succeeded in blocking poker, despite the fact it is predominantly a game of skill. In fact, while this definition remains in place, chances are very slim that online poker in Alabama will ever become a reality.
Online Casino Gambling in Alabama
Due to strong religious sentiments within the state, Alabama online or commercial casinos haven't garnered much support in recent years. Although we’d like to say the outlook is bright, no relevant bills are under debate right now. That means the prospect of online casinos in Alabama anytime soon are decidedly a long shot.
Alabama Poker Online
Just as online casino regulation hasn’t come close to gaining traction, online poker in Alabama is also unlikely. Again, any game with an element of chance is classified as gambling in this state, and lawmakers have been unwilling to concede that poker is a game of skill. Based on this, Alabama online poker sites will remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
Sports Betting in Alabama
There have clearly been concessions with regard to sports betting in Alabama over the years. However, even though it’s possible to bet on horse racing, no eligible cities have exercised their right to host it. What’s more, Alabama has shown it is a state that doesn’t typically follow the national trend. Therefore, even with New Jersey and others taking advantage of the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and the federal ban, it’s unlikely the Yellowhammer State will follow suit.
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