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Alaska Online Casinos

Alaska

Alaska may be the largest state in the USA, but it is also one of the least populated. That means that even with a fairly robust tourism industry (most of whom come to the state to see the incredible wilderness), there is little demand for casino gambling, a situation that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some gaming while you’re in the northern reaches of the United States. There are a couple of venues throughout the state that offer some opportunities for playing certain games, after all. And if they don’t appeal to you, playing online is always an option, with plenty of great sites offering their games to Alaskans.

Not on the Agenda

Online gambling is not regulated in Alaska, and it seems unlikely that the issue will even be brought up in a serious way anytime soon. The state doesn’t have the kind of population that gets operators excited about pushing for a regulated market, and traditionally, there hasn’t even been much land-based gambling to speak of. That’s a combination of factors that is likely to keep lawmakers from even thinking about implementing a licensing scheme for Internet gaming sites.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t play online while in The Last Frontier. While it’s illegal to operate such sites in the state, there are no laws preventing players from signing up at online casinos, playing for real money, and even winning prizes. This has left Alaska—like so many other American states—in the category of a “grey market,” where there are no state-regulated sites, but instead there are a large number of overseas operators who are more than happy to let Alaskans play in their casinos and poker rooms.

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Quiet on the Northern Front

Alaska isn’t nearly as cold and barren as many people imagine, but its casino industry definitely fits that description. There are no real casinos or poker rooms in the state, and in recent years, there has been virtually no movement towards allowing such operations to exist.

Native American tribes do offer some options, though they are limited to just a couple of bingo halls scattered throughout the state. Other bingo halls are designed to be charitable operations, sharing a portion of their proceeds with various causes. Bingo halls currently in operation include the Tudor Bingo Center and Boniface Bingo, both in Anchorage, and Bingo Mania in Wasilla.

You may also be surprised to find that there is no state lottery here, making it one of only six states (as of 2015) without such drawings. There are several reasons for this. First, Alaska’s small population makes state-run lotteries less lucrative then in some states. Perhaps more importantly, there isn’t the pull of competition against neighboring states: it isn’t as if many Alaskans are driving across the borders to buy Powerball tickets somewhere else.

There’s also the fact that high oil prices have allowed for surpluses in the state budget, which has lessened the perceived need for lottery revenue. Add in moral objections from some, and the appetite simply hasn’t developed for launching these games. Although the idea of a lottery has been brought up in the past, there doesn’t seem to be enough support for the measure to establish one here quite yet. There are some local games that are advertised as lotteries at bingo halls and other locations, but they operate more like raffles than the jackpot games found in other states.

Very Little Change on the Horizon

With so little gambling to speak of in the state, the question for Alaska is whether it will get caught up in the recent wave of expansion that has taken hold in so many parts of the USA. The immediate answer seems to be no, but there’s no guarantee that the situation can’t potentially change in the future.

There have certainly been efforts to establish some kind of gaming industry in the state over the years. About a decade ago, some legislators attempted to introduce casinos, but this idea was met with fierce resistance. A year later, they tried again with the prospect of card rooms that would allow for poker, rummy, bridge and similar games. That idea appeared to have a better chance, but anti-gambling forces still won out, preventing the measure from being passed in the state Senate.

More recently, there has been talk about pushing for a lottery to finally come to the state. This is hardly the first time the proposal has been made: it naturally came up as yet another alternative when casinos and other options were considered. But budget concerns in more recent years have caused the idea to be floated again. Still, with relatively tepid support, it’s hard to imagine a lottery being established here in the next few years.

The prospects for online casino legislation appear even less promising. The subject has hardly even been raised in any legislative sessions, and as we mentioned earlier, it’s hard to see it being a particularly lucrative venture unless it was tied to an interstate network.

In most cases, online gaming only follows after a land-based industry has been established. In other words, if you’re looking for a sign that Internet casino regulation could be coming to Alaska, it might first come when (and if) the state begins to expand its brick-and-mortar offerings first.

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