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Alaska Sports Betting

Editor’s note: As of Jan. 12, 2021

With the nearest professional sports team (among the major U.S. professional leagues) to Alaska being the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, sports betting may not at the front of mind of most residents of the 49th state.  

However, the April filing of legislation to create commercial card rooms is seen as a spark to build momentum for possible approval of casino gambling and eventually legalized sports wagering in the nation’s largest state.

House Bill 103, proposed in Spring 2019, would create the Alaska Gaming Commission and allow banked and non-banked card games. Approval of such games has been discussed before and this is the closest legislators have come to making it official.

Sponsored by state Reps. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard-R and Sara Rasmussen, the proposed law would make way for card rooms that would mimic casinos is almost every way.

The venues would be open 24/7, and feature amenities such as hotels, shopping, restaurants and live entertainment.

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“Let’s bring the cards out of the back rooms and in a fun, social setting for all to enjoy,” Sullivan Leonard wrote in the legislation’s sponsor statement.

After the bill’s first reading it was referred to the Labor & Commerce, Judiciary and Finance committees for further consideration.

In 2020,  Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a bill to legalize but neither state legislature have moved with it.

What are the prospects for sports gambling in Alaska?

Despite this semi-promising move, which has a long way to go toward approval, The Action Network, a sports media company which analyzes the sports betting landscape in the U.S., predicts sports betting in Alaska is a pipe dream for now.

According to a September 2019 report released by the group: “Alaska is pretty much nowhere on sports gambling. The 49th state might actually be the 49th state to legalize it.”

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