Gambling in Alabama


Gambling in Alabama is full of contradictions and exemptions.

For example, the state allows e-bingo in clear defiance of state law at the state’s legal horse racing tracks.

Licensed Tribal Casinos operate in Alabama; however, traditional casino games are prohibited.

Simultaneously, lawmakers push for the construction of casinos with traditional games.

Some legislators are trying to update-the-law and introduce online poker, and forms of betting online, however, Alabama’s politically-conservative-streak runs deep, including its history of restricting gambling.

Alabama Casino Gambling

Alabama shares a lot of colorful gambling history with its Mississippi neighbor. The Steam Boat Casinos with their card-sharps and other shady characters are as much a part of Alabaman gambling history as they are in Mississippi. Unlike Mississippi, however, that embraced gambling and now receives substantial revenues from its casinos – Alabama went down the conservative route, and almost all gambling games are illegal in this state.

The 1901 State constitution originally sets the conservative tone. The State’s overarching legal document defines ‘gambling as any game for financial gain with an element of chance’. This means that even games of skill are outlawed if there is an element of chance involved. Poker, Blackjack etc. are all obvious ‘victims’ of the interpretation as the State.

As a result, there are only four Tribal Casinos in Alabama at the present time, however, State Legislators are continually debating the possibility of full casino legislation in order to raise revenue and decrease the number of Alabama residents traveling to nearby Mississippi to gamble. The latest attempt failed in April, 2022, which would have created an Alabama state lottery, allowed legal sports wagering, and the building of five non-tribal casinos.

Tribal Casinos in Alabama

There are four Tribal Casinos in Alabama on Native American land only, as the state law actually prohibits casinos on state administered land. At the four Tribal Casinos, there are no table games at all, only slots and bingo-type games. At one point, there was an attempt to introduce electronic bingo games to the Tribal Casinos. The e-bingo games were initially permitted and then quickly withdrawn when a Supreme Court ruling judged them to be covered by the archaic 1901 definition of gambling. In the end, the e-bingo games were curiously added eventually to the state’s racetracks. Such are the mysterious contradictions that appear to make Alabama Casino Law difficult to understand to the observer.

Online Casinos in Alabama

In Alabama, there appears that there are no laws relating specifically to the legal status of online casinos, although casino gambling is banned and the assumption under State Law is that those laws are assumed to cover online gambling as well.

On a bright note for Alabama, there have so far been no recorded instances of individuals indicted for gambling online in the state. Conversely, nor has there been any debate on the topic at all by the Alabama State Legislature to this point in time to introduce something akin to the advanced development of New Jersey online gambling sites.

As a result, we advise all potential online casino players in Alabama to obey all laws that online casinos are illegal (until further notice).

Avoid using ANY online casinos (US-based or offshore) within Alabama until online gambling has been determined to be legal.

With the sole exception of online betting on greyhound and horse racing, online gambling looks like it will remain a very limited option in Alabama for the foreseeable future. That future does not look promising for Alabama to adopt online gambling soon, however, the great news is that all the major online horse racing betting sites accept players from the state.

Poker in Alabama

First the good news – Home poker games are tolerated in Alabama, as long as they meet the state guidelines of ‘social gambling in a private place’, and some limited opportunities exist for charity poker with good cause biker organizations.

In Alabama State Law, the onus of proof of social gambling rests solely on the shoulders of the players in the home game.

Otherwise, charity poker, video poker, poker in casinos and/or poker games are all deemed illegal under Alabama State Law. According the interpretation of legislators in Alabama, poker is illegal ‘as it involves chance’.

Even Alabama’s Tribal Casinos are not allowed to offer their clients opportunities to play poker.

Poker Rooms

No legal poker rooms exist in the state of Alabama to play for real money.

However, in some very limited cases, charity organizations in Alabama are now capitalizing on the large draw of Texas Hold’em tournaments and holding their own poker tourneys to bring in the crowds and raise some funds for their causes. Most notably, there are poker tournaments organized by some charity biker organizations in the state of Alabama.

Online Poker Laws

At this time, online poker in Alabama and video poker online are both deemed illegal and are therefore, unavailable. See section above on ‘Online Casinos in Alabama’.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Alabama

1901 – The Constitution of Alabama declares gambling a punishable crime.

1971 – Horse and Greyhound racing betting legalized in Alabama.

1980 – Race courses open in Alabama.

1988 – The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is passed, leading to the establishment of Alabama’s 3 Tribal Casinos.

2015 – A legal bid to allow a state lottery and four casinos failed to pass the State Legislature.

2016 – DFS betting was deemed to be illegal in Alabama.

2022 – Another legal attempt to allow a state lottery, sports gambling, and commercial casino gambling failed to pass

Visit our page on Alabama’s Online Sports Betting Laws for More information