Daily fantasy sports in Alaska are completely legal, with leagues such as FanDuel and DraftKings offering contests to thousands of Alaskans. The state sees these opportunities not as games of chance, but rather as something of a hobby that requires a degree of skill and knowledge. As a result, they are not categorized as gambling, and therefore the state's gambling laws do not apply to them.
There are also online skill games offered by WorldWinner, where gamers can play titles such as Spades and Bejeweled for real money. Players play against one another, agreeing to a wager before the game gets underway. Again, as these are seen as games of skill against an opponent, they are legal under the existing legislation.
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Alaska is geographically the largest U.S. state and the most sparsely populated, with a total population of fewer than 750,000 people. Its remoteness, and the subsequent lack of internet connectivity in more rural areas, help explain why online gambling in Alaska has not been a hot topic for the snowy state. That is not to say that there is no gambling at all in the Last Frontier, but there is no rush there to create legislation around online casinos.
Much of Alaska’s recent legislation has centered on pull tabs, a variation of scratch cards, where players pull a tab off a card to reveal symbols in hopes of a winning combination. While gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos remains illegal, the state laws are somewhat more open around poker, daily fantasy sports and online gambling.
The law is very clear that gambling within brick-and-mortar casinos is a no-go in the state. That extends to online gambling. The state offers no legal online gambling options and there doesn't seem to be a change on the horizon.
Alaska has produced two World Series of Poker (WSOP) winners, Perry Green and Greg Hobson, which shows the strong tradition of online poker in Alaska. Green, a former fur trader, even spoke to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce in 2005, advocating the legalization of poker. He reasoned that there was a vibrant underground poker community in Alaska and that legislation in its favor would allow the state to profit from it. Lawmakers passed legislation but the steep licensing fee deterred any partners.
So for now that means just like online casinos in Alaska, online poker is also illegal. Though the WSOP success shows there was interest, the state has not moved toward legalization recently. The Last Frontier also has to deal with challenges from remote areas that might struggle to find a stable internet connection to enjoy more than a few hands.
Alaska has no history of gambling like some other states, so there are no racetracks or sportsbooks. However, Alaskans can compete in charity gambling, where they bet on fishing competitions or sled racing. Unlike more typical forms of sports gambling, Alaskan players guess a time and the person who comes closest wins. All of the profits earned from these types of events go to charity and may not be donated to political parties or lobbyists.
However, wagers on other sports like football or basketball is still illegal. There appears little push from state lawmakers to join the sports betting legalization effort.