Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy has been leading the charge to legalize sports betting since 2020. Dunleavy hasn't quite crossed the "goal line", but when the governor is on-board with a new practice, that increases the chances of it passing significantly. Still, challenges remain ahead for the forgotten state up north.
Betting Bill Making The Rounds
In February, a brand-new bill was introduced into Alaska's house. Officially, it's dubbed the Alaska House Bill 385, and included in it are provisions to legalize mobile sports betting and daily fantasy contests in the most northern state in the Union.
The bill is pretty standard stuff, but includes provisions for the following:
- Legalized mobile betting on the collegiate and professional sporting events, but not high school games
- Legalized prop bets, pools, parlays, and straight-up wins-losses (this has to be noted since Alaska's neighbor, Canada, has long barred bets on single sports events)
- 12% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue
- A max limit of 10 licenses for mobile apps (at a $5,000 fee each)
While a sports betting bill exists, it doesn't mean it's passing anytime soon. “This is likely a longer-term project. We intend to try and pass the bill, but the timing is very tight,” said Ken Alper, who is aiding House representative Adam Wool on the bill. You can read the tea leaves and realize legal sports betting in Alaska is a longshot for 2022.
2023 feels like a more plausible timeline to get Alaska House Bill 385 (or a new iteration of the piece of legislation) passed. You can almost guarantee mobile betting will be included in the passed bill too. Alaska is by far the biggest state in the USA with 663,267 square miles of rich broad land — and the population is spread out over that mass. Forcing betting to retail locations, especially in the harsh winter months, makes zero sense.
Alaska remains one of 16 states without legalized betting in the USA. 16! But unlike a few stragglers (we're looking at you, Utah), Alaska is at least moving toward changing that — albeit at a snail's pace.
Sportsbooks Aren't Desperate To Sign Up Alaska
Let's address the million-dollar elephant in the room: sports betting companies largely don't care about Alaska and its gambling prospects, well at least not compared to other states like California and Texas. With a population under $800,000, there's not that much money to be made for bookmakers in the Alaska sports betting landscape.
Consequently, these same sports betting entities (think FanDuel and DraftKings) aren't forking over millions of dollars to political lobbyists in Alaska in an attempt to get a betting bill passed. And if we're being completely honest, lobbyist pressure (and their money) is how changes get made at a large scale within United States politics, for better or worse. This is another reason why legalized sports betting might be a slow burn in Alaska.
Though, it's not like there's not an appetite for sports betting by Alaskan residents. Maybe they don't have a pro team (or ever will), but Seattle-based sports teams are increasingly popular within state borders. Plus, transplants to the area remain loyal to their hometown teams in different pockets of America. Unfortunately, sports betting companies care about potential users above everything else and Alaska's peanut-small population does them no favors.
Alternate Betting Options For Alaskans
Alaska is nicknamed "The Last Frontier." Besides being the most catchy state nickname of all, it's also weirdly accurate of its sports betting scene. Though, that doesn't mean there are zero betting options for residents of the state.
There are two alternatives actually. One is to visit neighboring Canada, which is undergoing a legalized betting boom as of late. It now allows single-event bets, which has led to an explosion of sportsbooks opening up shop across the country.
Option two, and the less cumbersome route, is to sign-up to an offshore sports betting site. There are dozens upon dozens on the Internet, however, the very best bookmakers are listed in the underneath table (we've included unbiased sportsbook reviews as a frame of reference). These sites will keep you afloat while you wait for Alaska lawmakers to push this bill through, which as we said, is at least a year away. At least!