The 80s in Alabama will be remembered by so much more than great music and questionable fashion – it was the decade when charitable bingo was officially permitted. By the end of the decade, yet another barrier was broken and Tribal casinos in Alabama were finally allowed in the state. The 90s brought the raffle, whereas the new millennium in Alabama started with the state giving the seal of approval to electronic bingo. Comparing the evolution of gambling in AL and that of other USA states, it is quite clear that Yellowhammer State’s defensive attitude towards gambling will not be easy to shed off. Apparently, the money that Alabama residents wager outside the country’s borders is a small price to pay for avoiding the eternal damnation.
In the recent years, however, some of the edges were lost, and there has even been a discussion of introducing lottery, as two of the nominated candidates for the state’s governor has a progressive view on online casino gambling. This, of course, will not happen overnight, but the change towards legal online gambling has become visible and many feel that this is all it takes for the market to open – often, only the slightest of tremors can cause an avalanche. Recently conducted polling has shown that the voters are now willing to embrace the state lottery, which is notably different from the results obtained in 1999 when the voters rejected the proposition. Be as it may, Alabama state residents who enjoy these types of recreational and commercial activities have not given them up, and non-taxable, illegal gambling seems to be unavoidable in such circumstances.
Best Casinos in Alabama
After getting acquainted with the state’s gambling history, one will not have a hard time concluding that Alabama is no place for those who are looking for a quick buck at a casino table. The Tribes are operating no more than a few casinos, with around 10,300 gaming machines and the betting range from $0.01 to $10.
The Alabama casinos are scattered across the state, located in different cities. VictoryLand is the largest venue, offering 3,200 gaming machines and operating as greyhound track, casino, and a hotel. Obviously, no table-games are provided in VictoryLand or any of the other facilities.
The next in size is Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino and Hotel, with around 2,500 machines. To the players with a completely different notion of casinos, bingo and Class II slots offered in Tribal casinos within Alabama borders seem rather demure, especially when placed next to the gambling scene of California and Nevada. Bright lights, flashy roulette and blackjack tables, craps, baccarat, poker – you will not find any of it in Alabama, which is why many seek sanctuary on the other side of the border, in the welcoming arms of Mississippi. And, after the lawsuits targeting casinos were announced in 2017, more people have been driven to neighboring countries “to seek refuge” and practice their right of attaining some easy money.
Legal Aspects of Gambling in Alabama
To the majority of gambling advocates, the logic and legal structure behind the current regulation of gambling in Alabama remains somewhat of a mystery. Bingo has been a matter of great controversy over the years and many fail to understand why this particular game has been made an exception.
Interestingly enough, the government is not the only one having strict views on pretty much all forms of gambling known to USA residents – even though there are constant reports on the thriving illegal gambling scene, the fact remains that voters were not too inclined to give thumbs up to the lottery. The climate has now changed, but the question remains: how ready are the people of Alabama to embrace all forms of gambling and how long before the church going folks even consider (or accept) gambling as offered in Nevada and other states.
On the other hand, sports betting as the form of gambling that’s illegal in a number of states is thought by some to face fewer obstacles in AL due to certain legal regulations that do not specifically ban the activity – or at least, not in a way that would make it difficult to bypass. After the Supreme Court has decided to leave the legalization of sports wagering to the individual government of each state, some of the countries are already taking the necessary steps to finally change the status of sports betting, and, while it is clear that Alabama will certainly not be the next in line, the irony lies in the fact that legalizing lottery would be a much more complicated procedure than doing so with sports betting.
Available Casino Games in Alabama Casinos
Saying that the rigorous AL gambling laws have limited the gaming offer in the Yellowhammer State, would be an understatement. Let us once again reflect on the position that the state takes on various forms of gambling:
Casino table games; this is the category that’s strictly forbidden in Alabama, and not even the Tribal casinos are made exempt from the rule. There are no predictions as to when any of the games labeled as “casino” will be offered on the AL territory.
Online Gambling; no specific laws are passed to deal with this category, however, since US online casinos have pretty much the same offer as their land-based counterparts, this places them under the casino category, making them forbidden as well.
Live Poker; this card game is banned as well, together with blackjack or similar card games that contain the element of chance. Social poker played without a rake is where Alabama will turn a blind eye, but these events are still being kept under the radar.
Online Poker; the same rule is applied to both online and live poker game.
Sports Betting; this is one form of gambling where the state of Alabama has shown a bit more tolerance, and there are several greyhound and horse tracks in Alabama.
Lottery; not allowed, although there is a chance of introducing it.
Bingo; made legal inside Tribal casinos, although there is a lasting legal battle to ban the electronic bingo machines.
AL Casino FAQs
Are there forms of legal gambling in Alabama?
Certain games are in fact legal in Alabama – bingo, greyhound and horse races, as well as charitable raffle and bingo – for the most part, however, Alabama is still opposing most forms of gambling.
What is the legal age requirement for gambling in the state of Alabama?
Pari-mutuel allows players to participate if they are at least 18 or 19. This is a lot like the age requirement in other states, which is quite interesting, especially since some casinos in Nevada and California raise the age limit to at least 21.
What is the penalty for taking part in illegal gambling activities in Alabama?
Owning an illegal gambling device is considered a Class A misdemeanor and getting caught can result in imprisonment (up to one year) or a $6,000 fine.
Will the face of Alabama Gambling Scene change in the future?
While it would be logical to assume that time will affect the nation’s stand on gambling and that legalization is inevitable, it is impossible to predict when the change might occur. It took almost two decades for the state and its citizens to even consider lottery, which, compared to some other games of chance is pretty naive. Still, Alabama is standing its grounds, and, at least for the time being, talk and a lot of huff and puff are pretty much all that remains.
In the meantime, one cannot help but wonder: is the fact that gambling is illegal actually preventing anybody from gambling (with the exception of pari-mutuel)?
Is there a way to taste the forbidden fruit and gamble illegally in Alabama?
Illegal gambling scene does exist in Alabama, and many people resort to it, although it offers no protection to the participants. Alternatively, passionate players who are not able to quench their thirst on Alabama soil usually find consolation in Mississippi.