Alaska Legal Poker Sites

Alaska StateAlaska is not one of the poker-friendly States, with very few options open to residents. Things have always been anti-gambling here, and unfortunately there are no indications that anything is going to change soon. The only poker available here are social home games and limited bar leagues. Many Alaskans go to great lengths to enjoy gambling, including cruise ship trips out to international (or Canadian) waters where the restrictions do not apply.

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This article gives you a complete overview of poker in the State of Alaska. First of all you will find a look at the options for live poker card-rooms. After that social poker is covered, including home, bar and charity gaming. Next up there is a look at online poker and the options for Alaskans to play this form of the game. Things get more detailed next, with a delve into the Statute books for this State, before I’ll wrap it up with a summary and look at potential future scenarios.

Live Poker Games In The State Of Alaska

There are no live poker card rooms in Alaska – at least not legal ones. The limited number of casinos in this State (run by tribes) are extremely restricted, with only bingo type games available at all. Summer cruises are the only real form of casino table games, and not really the ideal setup for poker fans.

The closest live poker venues are a flight away for most residents. Both Canada and Washington State have some great options.

Social Poker Games In Alaska

Social poker games are the only way you can legally get a game of poker at all in Alaska. Home games are permitted under law, with the important rule that nobody is allowed to profit from running the games. Bar poker leagues also run. These are free to enter games, though there are some real prizes offered by the organizers. They work because the bars hosting them sell more food and drink – which enables them to offer small real money prizes or gifts.

Online Poker Games In Alaska

The Alaskan Attorney General has already made a statement saying that online poker games are covered by the current laws. This is just a ‘legal opinion’ at the moment, and has not been the subject or any test case or legal precedent.

Many online poker sites located offshore in countries like Antigua or the Netherlands Antilles welcome players from Alaska. These sites are legal in their own country and argue that freedom of trade means they can offer games to US players from many States. There are some restrictions on how you can deposit onto and withdraw from these sites. Hundreds of thousands of players enjoy these games every month from various parts of the US. You should keep in mind that you do this at your own risk both from a legal and financial standpoint.

This is not a State which I can see legalizing or regulating online poker games in the near future. With no real gambling allowed in the State, it would be a stretch of the imagination to think that they would suddenly legalize a format which is difficult to control.

What Do The Alaskan Legal Statutes Say?

The current laws concerning gambling in Alaska are more than 100 years old. Like in many States, these are very broad, and would have been designed from the outset to cover as many forms of gambling games as possible. Unfortunately, the ‘Skill Game’ argument for poker is already covered by the law. The Alaskan definition of ‘Contest of Chance’ states that the skill of contestants may also be a factor in these games.

Here is the wording from the Statutes for ‘contests of chance’, this is from Part 11-66-270

…a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that the skill of the contestants may also be a factor…

There are some interesting carve-outs under Alaskan law. You can legally bet on the outcome of a dog sledding contest (known as ‘Mushing’) and fishing contests can also legally be bet on. Unfortunately, this is not much help to Texas Holdem fans!

Alaska Poker – Summing It Up

Alaska is one of the most restrictive States when it comes to the legal basis of poker games. If it were not for home-games and free to enter bar leagues, then the State would be completely dry. With large distances to anywhere with a legal poker game, it is far from surprising that many Alaskans enjoy the online poker games currently offered by poker sites based offshore. According to the AK attorney general, online poker is not legal here – though at the time of writing no individual has ever been prosecuted for enjoying these games.

The chances of Alaska regulating online poker – either within the State or in conjunction with other States – look extremely small.