Pari-Mutuel (1970 to 1980 saw Legislature allow 4 counties to offer pari-mutuel)
Fantasy Sports/Daily Fantasy Sports 2019
Tribal Casinos 1986
Pari-Mutuel, Fantasy Sports/Daily Fantasy Sports 19 years+
Tribal Casinos 21 years+
Charity Bingo 18 years+
Tribal Casinos 3
The “Cotton State” of Alabama’s constitution prohibits most forms of gambling. Those that remain legal also remain largely unregulated and untaxed. These include a patchwork of simulcast pari-mutuel off-track betting in four counties: Greene, Mobile, Macon, and Birmingham. Although live racing is no longer available due to dwindling interest, Alabamians can bet on simulcast races from other states.
Legalized charity bingo, meeting the definition of “traditionally or commonly,” is available in 16 counties. These must meet a six-part test developed by the Supreme Court to qualify, including player interaction/participation and use (mostly) paper-based cards.
The ‘skill-based’ games of fantasy sports betting and daily fantasy sports betting are available statewide since 2019.
Alabama has 3 legal Indian tribal casinos offering electronic bingo and slots-like bingo machines to patrons. Lotteries are illegal in Alabama, making it one of just five states to prohibit the activity alongside Nevada, Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska.
Other forms of gambling, including traditional sports betting, commercial casinos, and classic casino-style games, are prohibited in Alabama.
Interestingly, Alabama has no statewide regulator to oversee gambling.
Alabama is bordered by four states that offer at least one form of gambling. Evidence suggests that Alabamians are not shy of crossing the border to participate.
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Online and mobile daily fantasy sports and fantasy sports have been legal to players 19+ in Alabama since 2019. Players pay a fee to create imaginary teams consisting of real players and win cash prizes depending on individual performances. The two largest providers are FanDuel and DraftKings.
Off-track betting online is also legal in Alabama for players 18+, applying to horses and greyhounds (though live betting is no longer available). Alabamians can still participate through simulcast broadcasts from other states.
Alabama law prohibits commercial casinos. However, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized native tribe, legally operates three casinos offering electronic bingo and bingo resembling slots. Players must be 21 or over. These are located at the following locations:
|Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Atmore||303 Poarch Rd. Atmore, AL 36502||www.windcreekatmore.com|
|Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Montgomery||1801 Eddie Tullis Rd. Montgomery, AL 36117||www.indiangaming.com|
|Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka||100 River Oaks Dr. Wetumpka, AL 36092||www.indiangaming.com|
Although Alabama recognizes eight other tribes, these are not federally recognized and thus are not permitted to operate tribal casinos.
Although horse and greyhound racing was phased out in 2020 due to lack of interest, pari-mutuel racing is still available, simulcast from other states.
At present, charity bingo for money or prizes in Alabama is available in 16 counties. It is provided on-premises and operated by non-profit organizations. Players must be 18 and over.
Article IV, Section 65 of the Constitution prohibits most forms of gambling. It states, “The legislature shall have no power to authorize lotteries or gift enterprises for any purposes, and shall pass laws to prohibit the sale in this state of lottery or gift enterprise tickets, or tickets in any scheme in the nature of a lottery.”
Alabama state has seen litigation concerning attempts to change gambling laws for decades. Policymakers have been stifled from making changes to gambling laws. The Alabama Legislature has some power to alter statutory regulations. Still, any meaningful constitutional amendment would require a vote by the people.
At present, poker rooms, bank card games, full-service commercial or tribal casinos (Class III), single-game sports betting, state lottery, and multijurisdictional lottery are prohibited.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (1988) governs gambling on Indian reserves or trust-held lands held by the federal government.
On February 14, 2020, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued Executive Order No. 719. In it, he requested a gambling policy report from the Governor’s Study Group. It would be submitted on December 31, 2020. While stopping short of recommendations, it recognized opportunities to maximize gaming revenue through a policy shift.
A legislative Act in 1971 led to the creation of the Birmingham Racing Commission, Greene County Racing Commission, Macon County Racing Commission, and Mobile Racing Commission. Cities of 300,000+ people, by law, can hold a referendum to decide whether to allow pari-mutuel horseracing and greyhound racing. Some racetracks also offer electronic bingo machines, but their legality remains questionable. In 2015, the Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling leading to the destruction of over 1,200 electronic bingo machines and over $200,000 in confiscated cash from VictoryLand.
Charity bingo in 16 counties supporting religious groups, educational institutions, and non-profits was legalized between 1980 and 2004.
In 1999, Alabama rejected a proposed lottery that would help fund education. Since that time, the legislature has been introduced to over 180 gambling bills – including 5 in 2020.
In 2019, skill-based games were legalized, which allowed fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports. This was in reaction to the 2018 Supreme Court decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that banned sports betting. The classification as “skilled-based” rather than “chance” was and remains controversial.
Alabama’s legal gambling age at tribal casinos is 21. The fantasy sports and pari-mutuel betting legal age is 19, followed by charity gaming at 18.
Alabama has three federally-recognized Indian tribes that are permitted to offer tribal gambling in the shape of electronic bingo and slots-like bingo.
No, commercial casinos are not legal in Alabama.
No, at present, Alabama state lotteries and interstate lotteries are considered illegal.
No, Alabama has not legalized sports betting in the state.
Charity bingo is permitted in 16 Alabama counties that have approved it in a referendum. Electronic bingo and slots-like bingo are legal at 3 Tribal Casinos. Fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports are allowed statewide. Pari-mutuel off-track racing is legal in 4 counties offering simulcast broadcasts from other states.
The only legal forms of online gambling in Alabama are daily fantasy sports, fantasy sports, and pari-mutuel betting.