Alabama – despite the evolving times regarding both brick-and-mortar and online gambling acceptance nationwide – is sticking by its more traditionalist guns. Ultimately, though, it’s likely that the Yellowhammer State will recognize all the benefits that domestic gambling has to offer to the local economy. When that happens, Alabama gambling laws are sure to be restructured and reimagined, bringing the market into the 21st century.
Nevertheless, gambling online in AL is actually legal right now. However, it’s your responsibility to understand the various AL gambling rules prior to engaging in any online betting activities. Alabama online gambling can be an enjoyable and safe form of entertainment so long as players choose only legal, authorized, and legitimate online gambling services.
Other Alabama Gambling Pages
The Definition of Gambling In Alabama
Like most states, Alabama defines gambling – in far too many words – as the following:
“the risking or staking something of value on the result of a contest of chance or on the outcome of a future contingent event not under the control of that person upon an understanding or agreement that he or someone else will receive something of value in case of a specific outcome.”
This definition of gambling is large enough to cover all forms of the activity. And given that gambling is outlawed in terms of the above, Alabama casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms are currently off-limits within AL borders. The state doesn’t even have a lottery or any horse racing betting tracks!
What Types Of Gambling Are Legal In Alabama?
Not all forms of gambling are illegal in Alabama. The state gambling law provides certain exceptions in the form of charitable gaming, as well as Class II tribal casinos.
These latter venues offer only EGMs (electronic gaming machines) and VLTs (video lottery terminals), which are glorified lotto kiosks that look like slot machines but don’t operate the same way from a technical or legal perspective.
However, there is nothing in AL law that criminalizes online gambling of any kind, provided the venue in question operates from outside of the United States. That’s why AL online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms are safe to use for all Alabama residents aged 18 and up.
Alabama Casino Gambling Laws
In Alabama, the only kind of “casino” gaming available is that located at the state’s three Wind Creek tribal casinos. However, these are rated as Class II casinos, which means they cannot offer all the classic Vegas-style games you expect. There are no slots, blackjack tables, roulette wheels, or anything else. These venues are limited to EGMs and VLTs, along with bingo.
Charitable gaming (i.e. raffles and pull tabs) are also legal under some circumstances. These kinds of gaming are available to AL residents at 18 and up.
However, if you want to play real-money casino games in Alabama, you’re not out of luck. That’s because it’s legal to join and bet at any reputable online Alabama casino site.
As long as the venue you choose is legally operating out of a recognized international gaming jurisdiction, there are no state or federal laws standing in your way. All the sites we recommend accept AL casino players at 18 and older.
Alabama Sports Betting Laws
Alabama does not allow in-person sports betting or online sports betting hosted by operators within the state’s borders. Additionally, the federal Interstate Wire Act prohibits retail or online sportsbooks in other states from accepting wagers from Alabama sports bettors.
That said, it remains fully legal for AL sports gambling fans aged 18 and up to join offshore sports betting sites, as these operate outside both Alabama and the United States. State and federal laws do not prohibit membership at these sites, so AL players can make all the real-money sports wagers they wish.
All the online Alabama sportsbook sites we recommend are considered the best operators in the business, but each one has different lines on all the contests of the day. As such, we suggest joining several and shopping lines to find the best values. You already know the Crimson Tide are going to win – The only question is how much are you going to win?
Alabama Poker Gambling Laws
Courts in Alabama have repeatedly rejected the argument that poker is a “game of skill.” As such, it is classified as gambling by definition, and it cannot be offered in a commercial or tribal capacity within the state.
However, private poker games are legal subject to certain conditions. Such games must abide by the following:
- Games must be “social games” (comprised of friends/acquaintances)
- Games must be played in private setting (such as a private club or residence)
- Games must include no house rake or cut for the host
- Games must be played among those aged 18+
Such home poker games qualify as legal under the AL social gambling exception.
Of course, it’s also legal to play online poker with offshore Alabama poker rooms located outside of the United States. These websites are operated within jurisdictions where online gambling is legal and are thus safe to use.
Alabama Bingo Gambling Laws
Charitable bingo is legal in some counties in Alabama. In counties where it is legal, many establishments started offering slot machines as a form of bingo in an attempt to circumvent the state gambling law. In fact, one county went so far as to pass an ordinance defining “bingo” in a broad sense to include slot machines.
In 2010, however, the Alabama Supreme Court struck down the definition of bingo under the ordinance, and as a result, slot machines are no longer allowed in those venues that are authorized to offer bingo amusements.
For players interested in Alabama online bingo gambling, there are a handful of legal, trustworthy online bingo halls which are operated from outside the United States and which provide legal online bingo games, chat games, and casino side games to players in the USA.
Alabama Lottery Laws
Alabama does not have a state lottery. The state, however, did make an attempt to legalize the lottery back in 1999. With strong backing from the state governor at the time, AL held a referendum on whether or not to introduce a state lottery.
Pro-lottery forces highlighted the revenues that could be raised from lottery sales and how those could be used for education initiatives, which has been successfully done in countless other states. They also emphasized the need to keep the gambling money from flowing into other states like Georgia and Mississippi.
Unfortunately, in a surprisingly high voter turnout, the lottery was turned down by 10 percentage points. Of course, times have changed, and legal AL lottery gaming and other forms of gambling and sports betting now do extremely well in the polls.
Alabama Gambling Laws Summary
Players interested in reviewing the official laws and statutes surrounding gambling in the state of Alabama can visit the Alabama Legislative Information System to view all relevant documentation in its original language and context.
Remember, this page is for informational purposes only and is not a definitive resource for determining what AL gambling activities are or are not legal. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a lawyer specializing in the field of AL gambling.
With that out of the way, here are the Alabama gambling markets that are currently available to AL residents both domestically at retail venues and via legal online betting sites:
- Tribal casino gaming (18+ Class II)
- Horse racing betting (18+ simulcast, no live races)
- Greyhound racing betting (18+ simulcast, no live races)
- Bingo (18+)
- Charitable gambling (18+)
- Casino gambling (18+)
- Sports betting (18+)
- Poker cash games (18+)
- Poker tournaments (18+)
- Horse racing betting (18+)
- Greyhound racing betting (18+)
- Bingo (18+)
- Lotteries (18+)
Federal Laws Impacting Alabama Online Gambling
There are two current federal laws which deal with online gambling in every state in the US: the Federal Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Up until 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was also relevant, but that was overturned by the Supreme Court.
The Wire Act, signed in 1961, prohibits sports betting operators from accepting wagers across state lines, while the UIGEA (2006) – despite its scary-sounding name – exclusively targets US-based financial institutions that knowingly process payments to and from non-domestically-regulated online gambling venues.
It’s important to note that neither of these laws prohibits or criminalizes online gambling for USA players who play at legitimate offshore gambling sites located outside of the United States.
You can learn more about federal betting laws at our United States online gambling laws page.
***This page is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal services or advice. This content was compiled by gambling professionals, not lawyers. Nobody on our team is qualified to provide legal services in any capacity.