Alabama State Flag IconThis page is dedicated to providing information on the Alabama Gambling Laws and Alabama Online Gambling Laws which govern gambling activity for AL residents. We try to assist players by providing as much information as possible, however, it is your responsibility to understand the law prior to engaging in any online gambling activity. We are strong advocates of responsible gambling, and thus want to do everything we can to help you to be ‘in the know’ and well informed so that you are equipped with the knowledge you need to make wise decisions regarding your gambling behaviors. Alabama online gambling can be an enjoyable and safe form of entertainment if players are careful to selectively participate only in legal, licensed and regulated gambling operations.

Other Alabama Gambling Pages

The Definition of Gambling In Alabama

Alabama gambling laws define gambling as 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 poker and casino gambling.

What Types Of Gambling Activity Are Illegal In Alabama

Alabama gambling law does not make an exception for persons who engage in an illegal gambling activity merely as players. Knowingly advancing or profiting from an illegal gambling activity as a player can result in the charge of simple gambling, a Class C misdemeanor. Advancing a gambling activity includes materially aiding the gambling activity through creation or establishment of a game, playing or conducting the game or having anything to do with a place that is used for an illegal gambling activity. Possession of a gambling device is illegal in AL. The definition of a gambling device is very broad and can include virtual chips and even the laptop used for online gambling if participating in an illegal operation. Not all forms of gambling are illegal in Alabama. The state gambling law provides certain exceptions in the form of regulated gambling. There are also licensed, certified and regulated online gambling options which are located outside of the United States and welcome players from AL and the US in general as participants in their gambling offerings. Because they accept players from Alabama, they are often referred to as Alabama online sports betting sites, casinos, poker rooms and bingo halls.

Alabama Poker Gambling Laws

Courts in Alabama have repeatedly rejected the argument that poker is a game of skill. But home poker games are legal subject to certain conditions. It must be:

  • a social game and
  • played in private place

Such home poker games will qualify under the social gambling exception. The game must not be operated for financial gain – the house cannot rake the pot or charge the players. All players must be at least 18 years old.

While we did not find any land based poker rooms or poker options at the Indian Tribe casinos located in the state, we are aware of multiple legally licensed and regulated Alabama poker rooms located outside of the United States. These websites are operated within licensing jurisdictions which have made online gambling legal, hence they are not considered to be illegal gambling operations and can legally accept USA players. These sites are a safe and reliable option for poker players in Alabama.

Pari-Mutuel Gambling Laws In Alabama

Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in Alabama. In 1971 the state legalized pari-mutuel wagering at horse and dog racetracks. Presently there are four dog racing tracks in the state. One of them is classified as a racino and has slot machines. In 1980, the state legalized charitable bingo.

Alabama Land Based And River Boat Gambling Laws

Alabama does not have any land-based casinos other than the ones on Indian reservations. You will find information about these casinos listed at the bottom of our Alabama online casinos page. At present, there are four such Indian casinos in the state. These casinos are owned and managed by Indian tribes under the provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. There are riverboat casinos in Alabama. But the games on offer at such casinos are limited. They mainly offer machine gambling. Slot machines and bingo are the two most common casino games in the state. The state gambling law makes table games illegal under most circumstances. None of the riverboat casinos offer poker.

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 on to pass an ordinance defining bingo is a broad sense to include slot machines. The State Supreme Court in 2010 struck down the definition of bingo under the ordinance and as a result, today slot machines do not come under the definition of bingo. For players who are interested in Alabama online bingo gambling, there are a handful of legal, licensed and regulated bingo halls which are operated outside of the United States and which provide legal online bingo games, chat games, and casino side games to players in the U.S.A.

Laws Concerning AL Lottery Options

Alabama does not have a state lottery. The state, however, did make an attempt to legalize the lottery. In 1999 with strong backing from the then state governor, the state held a referendum on whether or not to introduce a state lottery. The pro-lottery forces highlighted the revenues that can be raised from lottery sales and how it could be used for education. They also emphasized the need to keep the gambling money from flowing into other states – Georgia (lottery) and Mississippi (casinos). In a surprisingly high voter turnout, the lottery was turned down by 10 percentage points.

The Legality Of Online Gambling Regulated By The State Of Alabama

The state of Alabama has not made any attempts to legalize or regulate state-based online poker or online casino gambling. It is illegal to operate any type of online gambling website within the state of Alabama. State law does not prohibit Alabama residents from accessing and participating in real money betting at legally licensed, compliance certified and legitimately regulated online gambling sites that are located outside of the United States.

Federal Laws Concerning Alabama Online Gambling

Playing online poker or casinos games for money is not illegal under Federal laws. There are three federal laws which deal with online gambling: the Federal Wire Act, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).  None of these laws prohibits or criminalizes online gambling for USA players who participate in legally licensed and regulated gambling sites that are located outside the United States.  PASPA and the Federal Wire Act only apply to US-based sports betting and have no bearing on legally sanctioned offshore gambling sites.  The UIGEA does not apply to players of online gambling but rather targets gambling site operators and payment processors to ensure they follow the regulatory oversight that the law requires of them.  You can learn more about federal laws by visiting our page about United States Online Gambling Laws.

 Alabama Gambling Laws

Players who are interested in reviewing the official laws and statutes surrounding gambling in the state of Alabama can visit the Alabama Legislative Information System Online to view the documentation in its original language and context.

This page is for informational purposes only and is not a definitive resource for determining what activity is legal or illegal. If you have questions or concerns, we recommend that you contact a lawyer or other professional expert who could assist you in the interpretation of state laws.

Alabama Gambling Laws FAQs

How can I avoid a “simple gambling” Class C misdemeanor in Alabama?

A Class C misdemeanors of “simple gambling” can be avoided by understanding the legal situation regarding the company with which you are placing your bets. A person cannot legally open and license a gambling institution of any kind that deals with games of chance as per the Alabama state constitution. Even the casinos that are legally licensed on Indian reservations are heavily regulated and cannot offer table games like poker and blackjack. As long as you are using a website that is run by a company that is located physically outside of the United States and within proper licensing requirements of the regulatory bodies of their home countries, you will not be arrested and charged with this Class C misdemeanor.

Can I have my laptop taken from me as a “gambling device” if I gamble online?

No, your laptop can only be deemed a “gambling device” if you have used it to place bets with illegal online entities. There are numerous online gambling websites that operate completely legally within the industry and are well regulated and within the laws for residents of AL. The online gambling sites featured in this guide are among the top rated destinations for Alabama residents.

Can I still gamble on poker in private settings with my friends?

Yes, although poker has been repetitively deemed a game of chance and is therefore illegal by state law, private games of poker between friends is still legal. In order to stay within legal limits, you must make sure that the primary function of the game remains social, and the game itself is played in a private setting. There is a “social gambling” exception to the law that allows these games to still take place. In order to qualify for that exemption, the games must not be run for financial gain of any sort.

Are there any legal gambling destinations in Alabama?

Yes, there are several casinos located on Indian reservations and riverboats that offer the casino experience. There are also various horse and dog tracks that have been allowed to persist because betting on horses and dogs have been deemed a “game of skill” by the state of Alabama. We always insist you check the legality of anywhere you are planning on placing bets, especially if they have a low customer base.

What types of state-based gambling are legal in Alabama?

The state legalized pari-mutuel gambling at dog and racetracks in 1971. Pari-mutuel gambling is a form of gambling where instead of betting against the house, you are gambling against other players who have taken the opposite bet. In 1980, the state also legalized charitable bingo. As long as a certain percentage of the proceeds goes to charity these “games of chance” have been given an exemption to the rule. As mentioned above, there are also various casinos and bingo halls within the state as well.  It is also legal for state residents to enjoy licensed, offshore online gambling as well.

Bingo Is legal in my county, is it legal all over Alabama?

Charitable bingo was made legal in 1980 but only for some counties. The default opinion of the state is that Bingo is still a game of chance and is therefore still widely illegal, although in the case of some counties it has been exempted based on charitable causes. We recommend you check with the county laws in your region before participating in such activities.  This law only applies to state-based bingo gambling, and not Alabama online bingo that takes place at licensed offshore bingo sites.

***This page is intended to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as or substitute for any type of 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.