There are currently no legislative bills proposed for online sports betting in Alaska. Prospects of legislation for sports betting in the next few years remain slim, as current laws would need to be repealed or amended before sports betting would be permitted.
Following the Supreme Court decision on May 14, 2018 that struck down the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA), states can legalize sports betting with legislative approval. However, Alaska has laws that prohibit sports betting, and there are no forms of state-regulated sports betting available either online or at a physical location.
A new opinion from the US Department of Justice broadens its interpretation of the Wire Act to cover internet gambling. The implications on the industry remain unclear pending a set of enforcement guidelines from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The OLC’s updated interpretation no longer believes that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.
The issue now is that there is no longer any clarity about which forms of online betting are legal and which are not.
Residents of Alaska may visit legally sanctioned, US-friendly online sportsbooks that operate offshore or outside the United States. Offshore online sports betting in Alaska is considered legal in most states because licensed offshore sportsbooks are located outside the jurisdiction of the US federal laws. A majority of online sports betting sites and offshore sportsbooks set the minimum age at 21 years old. There is no legal punishment betting illegally offshore or at sites not based in the U.S. However, playing underage in the U.S. could result in the site confiscating funds in the account and not paying out winnings.
The situation with online sports betting laws in Alaska may change in 2020.