Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Alabama?
Right now other than online betting on horse racing, sports betting is illegal in Alabama. There are however lots of reasons to believe that could change soon.
With its love of pro sports and proximity to a newly legalized sports betting market in Mississippi, Alabama looks like a good bet to be one of the next US states to legalize sportsbetting.
After the landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision that gave each state the power to determine their own sports betting laws, the ball is now squarely in Alabama’s court.
At the moment, unlike its western neighbor, Alabama does not have licensed or regulated ways to gamble on sports. However, it’s hard to believe that situation will persist for very long. With a public referendum in Alabama brewing for next year, legal and regulated sportsbetting looks like it could soon be spreading across the heart of Dixie.
This page is your complete guide to sportsbetting in Alabama. We’ll look at the history of gambling in the state, the current situation with legal sportsbetting, the implications of the 2018 Supreme Court decision and what we can expect for regulated sportsbetting in Alabama in the future.
The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in Alabama
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which has been enshrined in law since 1992 and prevented legal sportsbetting, was overturned by the Supreme Court on Monday the 14th of May. The Court found in favor of New Jersey in their attempt to allow sports betting in their own state, which effectively removed the ban on sportsbetting across the entire United States.
Now every state including Alabama has the power to choose their own laws regarding gambling and sportsbetting. And Alabama does not have to look very far to see an example of a state taking advantage of this.
Mississippi, bordering Alabama to the west, has wasted no time in determining for themselves how to proceed with sportsbetting in their own state. On August 1st, 2018, barely three months after the repeal of PASPA, legal sports betting was launched in Mississippi.
In Mississippi you can gamble on sports as long as you’re 21 years old and on the grounds of a licenced casino. So far, the Mississippi Gaming Commission has restricted sportsbetting to in-person wagering but they have said that online sportsbetting will be considered at a later date.
In Alabama, however, just one state away, there are currently no legal options for sportsbetting but it’s a safe bet that they will consider following the relatively conservative approach demonstrated by neighboring Mississippi.
The History of Online Sports Betting in Alabama
While many Alabama residents are no stranger to betting a couple of bucks on an Auburn game, up to now there has been no way to do so with a legally regulated sportsbook in the state.
Alabama, just like the vast majority of states, was governed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This act was signed into law in 1992 and prevented states from regulating and taxing sportsbetting.
Since then, gambling in Alabama has largely been confined to the small number of Native American run casinos that exist in the state, where slots and bingo are available. Sportsbetting has been illegal in Alabama since PASPA was signed. Situated in the heart of the Bible Belt, Alabama has historically had less of a culture of gambling and sportsbetting in the state than others across the US. This could be changing though.
While Alabama doesn’t have a long history of betting, it does a proud tradition of sports and sports fans. Alabama is not currently home to a professional sports franchise but the state has a rich tradition of minor league baseball teams, other semi-professional sports teams and of course college sports. College football takes its pride of place among sports in Alabama, with the University of Alabama represented by the Crimson Tide.
To understand the love of sports in the state look no further than the Crimson Tide, one of the most iconic and decorated teams in the history of the NCAA.
So while sportsbetting has been slow to grow in Alabama, sports has always been a big part of the identity of the state. Gambling in the state has historically come down to only a few options:
- Spending an evening on the slots at your local casino.
- Betting an informal few dollars with your buddies before the local game.
- Betting on sports online using offshore bookmakers. Since they are not strictly legal or regulated, sites like this can be considered a bit of a grey area. Although gamblers in the US have never been prosecuted for using them, these sites can be considered at least a bit of a risk.
However, the current situation is beginning to look a little different.
What Does SCOTUS Decision Mean for Alabama?
Mississippi’s moves towards a regulated sportsbetting market can really be seen as food for thought for Alabama, and indeed many other states around the US. A few others have also already taken steps towards legalization, like Delaware and New Jersey. With self determination around this issue available for the first time, it is likely that few states will choose to be left behind.
This is the position Alabama finds itself in today. With a population of almost 5 million sports-savvy people, a multi-billion dollar opportunity already being exploited by their next-door neighbours, and a nationwide growth in gambling interest the state will be asking itself some very interesting questions.
That’s not to mention the potential tax revenue that’s currently being funneled out of the country by off-shore casinos and sportsbooks taking quasi-legal bets from people in Alabama.
Some State representatives have already suggested a bill could be on the cards for 2019 legislative session calling for a referendum on the issue. Everyone knoes sportsbetting in Alabama is already happening, just not legally.
This is an opportunity for the state to generate significant revenue from a population ready to embrace legal sports betting.
As public opinion softens towards gambling and the amount of money in the industry becomes harder to ignore, we expect Alabama to follow the lead of Mississippi and others.
Which Online Sports Betting Sites Are Legal in Alabama?
At the moment there are no legal options for online sports betting in Alabama. However, the times are changing and they can change quickly. Check back on this page for more information as the situation develops.
Is Fantasy Sports Betting and DFS Legal in Alabama?
Betting on fantasy sports through sites like DraftKings and FanDuel is unfortunately not available legally in Alabama, despite it being available in almost all other US states.
DFS has been widely legalized thanks to an important distinction made between fantasy sports wagering and traditional sports betting. Fantasy sports was found to be a game of skill by the US courts while regular sports gambling has been designated a game of chance.
Games of skill are not subject to anti-gambling laws like PASPA and therefore have been available to US players in almost all states for a number of years already.
Alabama, however, has been avoided by the major DFS sites because of a largely negative legal climate. Fantasy sports was available in Alabama until 2016 when Attorney General Luther Strange issued cease and desist orders to DraftKings and FanDuel.
Attempts have been made in the state to create legislation to allow fantasy sports betting but so far they’ve all been unsuccessful. Most recently Senator Paul Sanford sponsored a bill but the Senate declined to bring it to the floor for a vote.
What Sports Can You Bet on Online in Alabama?
As we have noted, sports betting is not currently legal in Alabama. That said, when legal online sports betting does make its way here it will find a state with a vibrant sporting tradition and passionate fans. The following is just a taste of some of the sports betting that could be available to Alabama residents soon:
The Alabama Crimson Tide program which represents the University of Alabama is one of the most iconic football teams in the history of the NCAA. With 17 National Championships and a Heisman winner as recently as 2015, The Crimson Tide have always cast a long shadow on college football. The team are a consistent provider of players to the NFL draft. The rivalry between the Crimson Tide and Auburn University is one the fiercest around. When the two meet it is known as the “Iron Bowl - expect a lot of money to be riding on that game when sports betting is legalized in Alabama.
Although the state has no MLB teams there is a proud tradition of baseball in Alabama. In the minor leagues the state is represented by the likes of the Montgomery Biscuits and the Birmingham Barons. When regulated sports betting arrives in Alabama it will hopefully be possible to bet on minor league teams in a variety of ways.
Of course, you will always be able to bet on MLB teams too. From World Series winners to batting averages, there will be no shortage of ways to gamble on baseball if sports betting is legalized in Alabama.
The Auburn Tigers and the Crimson Tide two of the biggest college basketball teams in Alabama, and both teams have a healthy tradition of providing NBA draft picks. The legalization of sports betting in Alabama would make it possible to bet on both teams, as well as the NBA. Point spread betting is a good way to bet profitably on basketball, and this could be a consideration as legal sports betting gets closer.
From hockey teams like the Huntsville Havoc to soccer teams like the Birmingham Hammers, Alabama has a variety of other local sports teams waiting to be bet on. If you want to look further afield, the legalization of sports betting in Alabama would make it possible to bet on all kinds of sports from around the US and the rest of the world, From Tiger Woods to Tom Brady.
Is There No Deposit Sports Betting in Alabama?
Right now there are no legal sports betting options in Alabama, either online or live.
While there are some offshore online bookmakers that offer no deposit sports betting, your best option is to wait until online sports betting is legal and regulated in Alabama.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in Alabama?
While the immediate future of sports betting in Alabama is unclear, it is highly likely that sports betting will be made legal in the state sooner or later. The Supreme Court overturning PASPA has created a multi-billion dollar opportunity. With neighbouring Mississippi and others are already making moves to take advantage, it can’t be long until the Yellowhammer state follows suit.
Alabama is an interesting case because, despite the sporting history of the state, many of the strongly Christian communities have historically been against gambling. As recently as 1999 the state rejected the introduction of a state lottery. The times are changing however. A new love and appreciation for sports betting is sweeping across the United States, and Alabama is not immune.
There have already been suggestions from state representatives that a referendum on the issue could be on the table as early as 2019. Local representatives have called for the state to use the opportunity to generate some much needed public funds. It would surely be a move both sports fans and ordinary folk would welcome today. Sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry, and Alabama won’t want to get left behind.
For now, online sports betting with unregulated offshore bookmakers is the only option in Alabama. But as more and more states move towards safe and legal sports betting, that surely won’t be the case for too long.
Will Online Sports Betting Ever Be Legal in Alabama?
There is no guarantee that sports betting will be legal in Alabama, but it is clear that the tide is turning in that direction.
Make sure to check back on this page for updates on any major developments that bring Alabama closer to legal sports gambling.
Sports Betting in the Cards for Alabama
Sports betting is growing in popularity across the United States. Even though Alabama has a great tradition of sports teams and sports fans, the historically conservative state has been a little slower than others to come around to sports betting. It looks like this won’t be the case for too long.
The repeal of PASPA has created an opportunity that is too good to pass up. Alabama is a budding market of sports fans, just waiting for their chance to bet with legal and regulated sportsbooks.
Hopefully it won’t be long before Alabama follows its western neighbour Mississippi, and moves to legalize sports betting. When it finally happens, it will a glorious day for sports fans in the South.