Can You Play Online Poker in Alaska?
No, you cannot play online poker legally in Alaska. In fact, if you’re looking to participate in any form of gambling activity in the state, there are very limited options for you to explore. The state has no lottery board, no commercial casinos and operating online casinos is considered illegal.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in Alaska?
Playing poker and other gambling activities is generally frowned upon by most of Alaska’s population. The state’s law also prohibits unlawful gambling, as stipulated in Section 11.66 of Alaska's criminal code.
Consequently, playing online poker isn’t considered legal in the state. This will most likely remain the same in the near future since there seems to be no political will or public discussions to change the legislation.
It is worth noting that the law in Alaska mostly punishes people who organize or run gambling activities within the state and not people playing it. This makes it impossible to find legal online casinos operating within the state.
Offshore gambling sites such as Ignition and ACR Poker operate in a legal grey area outside of both Alaskan and federal laws. Most of these sites welcome online poker players from Alaska. There are, no doubt, people living in Alaska who gamble in such online casinos. However, they are taking a risk by doing so.
We at MyPokerCoaching do not recommend playing on these sites. Since offshore sites are not regulated by state or federal laws, there’s no guarantee that your money is safe when you play on these platforms. In addition to the risk of not getting your money when you win, there’s also no guarantee of fair play on these sites, which makes them unsafe and unreliable.
Potential Alaska Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in Alaska for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in AK will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in AK, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker Alaska
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker AK will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, AK is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think Alaska would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
The third AK poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.