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Alabama Poker Laws: Everything You Need to Know

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Are you a poker player living in Alabama? If so, you need to be up-to-date on the current state of Alabama online poker laws.

This post will look at what is currently legal and illegal regarding playing poker in the Yellowhammer State. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Alabama: Poker Laws

Where to play online poker in Alabama

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Is Online Gambling Illegal In Alabama?

There is no specific law in Alabama that makes online gambling illegal. However, a general law prohibits gambling, and this rule could apply to online gambling.

There have been no instances of individuals being charged with online gambling in Alabama, making it a gray area. If you’re thinking about playing online poker in Alabama, you should talk to a lawyer to ensure that you aren’t doing anything illegal.

Generally speaking, as long as you are not operating an online gambling site, you should be fine to play for personal enjoyment. 

Alabama Poker and Gambling Laws

Alabama

Alabama’s gambling laws are found in the State Code under sections 13A.12.20-30; 13A.12.90-92; and 34.6.12-13. The code prohibits most types of gambling, with a few exceptions.

Gambling is technically illegal in Alabama. However, there are several ways to gamble legally. The state has a lottery, which was founded in 1987 and takes place three times a week.

There are also several tribal casinos in Alabama that offer electronic bingo and slot machines.

In addition, the state allows pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound races. So, while Alabama’s gambling laws are fairly restrictive, there are still some options available for those looking to gamble.

Although online poker is not expressly prohibited by the Alabama penal code, it is technically not legal. However, there is no legal way to play online poker in the state. There are no licensed and regulated online poker sites operating in Alabama, so players must use offshore poker sites if they want to play online.

A Detailed Look at Alabama Gambling Laws

Alabama‘s definition of gambling, like a lot of states, is pretty broad, and includes all betting on games of chance:

“GAMBLING. A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.”

The definition of ‘contests of chance” is also similar to that provided in many other states, and is written to explicitly include games where there is also an element of skill involved, such as with poker and other games that feature both elements of chance and skill:

CONTEST OF CHANCE.

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

So with the game of poker, the outcome does depend to a material degree upon an element of chance, at least as far as the outcome of the wagers are concerned. The element of chance here is the fall of the cards of course, and although there is also an element of skill involved, this does not save it from being included in the definition.

So while we may read comments about how there may be some uncertainty to these laws, there is none, as these laws have been carefully written to remove any doubt whatsoever of whether wagering on poker is considered gambling or not, and it clearly is included in the definition.

Short History of Gambling in Alabama

Gambling has a long and varied history in the state of Alabama.

Year 1901

It was first made illegal in 1901, but the Alabama Supreme Court soon legalized dog and horse racing wagering. This led to four dog racing tracks opening in different parts of the state.

Year 1980

In 1980, an amendment to the state constitution legalized charitable bingo in Jefferson County. Through this law, charitable bingo operations could not distribute more than $7,500 worth of prize money a week, and the rest of the real money had to go to the charity, except for some expenses.

The charitable bingos could be open only for two sessions a week, lasting no more than five hours each.

Year 1984

In 1984, the Birmingham Race Course was approved and became the second horse racing facility in the Deep South states. The following year, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allowed for casinos on Native American-held land in Alabama.

Year 1993

In 1993, Mobile Mayor William Bell, Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington, and Tuskegee Mayor Woodrow Hale formed the Jobs for Alabamians Coalition.

Its objective was to get a constitutional amendment passed that would allow for a state lottery and casinos at four dog tracks in Alabama (Birmingham, Shorter, Eutaw, and Mobile)

Year 1998

In 1998, Don Siegleman ran for governor on a pledge to bring a state lottery before the voters. He wins the election but fails in his attempt to secure a referendum.

While gambling has long been a source of tension in Alabama, it is nonetheless an important element of its history.

The Future of Gambling in Alabama

With the recent wave of legalization and regulation of online poker sweeping the nation, many states are scrambling to get in on the action. Alabama is no different. The state has been gradually loosening its gambling laws over the past few years, and there is a growing movement to legalize and regulate online poker.

The current state of Alabama’s gambling laws is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the state has a number of casinos and racetracks that offer live poker games. On the other hand, there is no legal online poker in Alabama. This leaves many poker players in the state in a bit of limbo.

The good news is that a number of bills have been introduced in the Alabama legislature that would legalize and regulate online poker. These bills have a good chance of passing, and if they do, Alabama will become one of the first states to offer legal online poker.

In the meantime, there are still a number of ways to play online poker in Alabama. There are a number of offshore poker sites that accept players from the state, and there are also a number of social poker apps that can be used for play money games.

So, even though the legal situation is in flux, there are still plenty of options for poker players in Alabama.

Final Thoughts

The current state of affairs in Alabama with regard to poker laws is a bit of a mess. There is no real clarity on the issue, and it seems that different agencies have different interpretations.

There isn’t much clarity on the subject, and it appears that different authorities have divergent views. It is advisable to adhere to caution until there is a definitive decision from the state legislature or court system.

FAQ

Where can I Play Online Poker in Alabama? You can play on our recommended online poker site, which is licensed and regulated in the United States. On these sites, you’ll find a broad selection of games, such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud. You may also locate numerous social poker apps that enable you to play monetary games.
How do the Current Laws Affect Players Living in Alabama? The current poker laws in Alabama are not very player-friendly. There is no legal way to play online poker within the state’s borders. However, you can still play on offshore poker sites that accept players from Alabama. While there is no risk of getting into trouble with the law for playing on these sites, there is always the potential for your funds to be seized if the site is shut down by the US government.
What are the Chances of Online Poker being Legalized in Alabama? The prospects for online poker being legalized in Alabama are not very good at the moment. There has been very little legislative movement on the issue in recent years, and it does not appear to be a priority for lawmakers. That said, stranger things have happened, so it’s always possible that the state could take a sudden interest in the issue and move to legalize online poker in the future.

About the Author

Sadonna Price
Author Sadonna is a mom of two and an avid poker player who also enjoys online casino games. She has been part of the online gambling industry for over a decade, working as a news and blog writer. Sadonna still plays Texas hold’em in her free time while her daily job revolves around providing insights into the online gambling world using her creativity and writing skills.
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