Last Updated Feb 04, 2022, 7:53 AM

ALASKA TURNS A COLD SHOULDER TOWARDS LEGAL SPORTS BETTING

US Sportsbooks · Bonus Codes · Betting News · Special Update

By the end of 2021, there will be more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia offering legal sports betting in some form. You can add more than a few states to that list working through the legislative process.

At the complete opposite end of the legal gaming industry is Alaska. This is one of the few states in the US that does not offer any form of legal gaming. Even the most optimistic industry observers believe it would still take a couple of years to change that status.

The last legislative effort aimed towards any form of legal gambling was in 2020. At that time, the state Senate introduced a bill to create the Alaska Lottery Corporation. Since there is no legal gambling in the state, there is no established governing body.

That effort stalled. However, the groundwork had been set to approach the matter from a legislative standpoint.

That proposed measure was Senate Bill No. 188. This would have been the preliminary step towards establishing a gaming base. Future efforts to expand into legal sports betting could have gone through a state lottery.

Given the remote and detached nature of Alaska from the continental US, demand is a key consideration. There is an affinity to hockey through West Coast NHL teams such as the Vancouver CanucksEdmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has teams in British ColumbiaEdmonton and Calgary as well. There are no major college sports in the state other than an annual men’s basketball tournament.

In the absence of strong demand, state lawmakers tend to focus their attention towards other matters. However, added tax revenue through legal sports betting and other gaming options tends to spark an interest for change.

The lack of effort during the 2021 legislative session is not a good sign towards future progress. However, current Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy has been a strong proponent for legalizing betting on sports.

He was the driving force behind the state’s legislative efforts in SB 188. Governor Dunleavy was also a member of the state’s Senate from 2013 to 2018. If a renewed effort did gain some traction in 2022, the governor would lend his support.

Until then, sports bettors in Alaska are going to have to bundle up and endure another cold winter without any legal sports betting. That could carry over to a few more winters given the current betting climate in the 49th state.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.

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