The global market size value of online gambling in 2020 is $59.6 billion, with a revenue forecast of $127.3 billion in 2027. The increase in the usage of mobile phones for online gaming and high internet penetration is responsible for the rapid growth of the industry.
And as such online poker has been a critical factor responsible for the incredible increase in poker players worldwide. However, the case of online poker in the state of Alabama is quite controversial.
Gamblers around and within the state generally have multiple questions about gambling laws in Alabama, mostly where they can play. In this article, we seek to offer assistance to poker players.
Let’s start by taking a dive into a brief history of poker in the state of Alabama.
A Brief History of Gambling in Alabama
The history of poker and gambling, in general, in the state of Alabama is a very complicated one. It all started in 1901 when the constitution of the state first declared gambling illegal. In 1971 however, the State’s supreme court ruled dog and horse races as constitutional since the results depended on the skill of the animal and was not considered like a lottery or a game of chance. This development led to the opening of several dog/horse racing facilities in the state.
In 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allowed casinos on native American-held lands to operate. Three mayors and a dog track owner unsuccessfully pushed for a constitutional amendment to legalize and allow the operation of casinos in the State in 1993. In the 1998 elections, candidate for Governor Don Singleman included a promise of legalizing the state lottery. He won the election but failed to deliver on his promise, as the electorate voted against it in a referendum.
After many other reforms and requests for amendment of the state constitution, gambling remains illegal in Alabama.
The Legality of Poker in Alabama
Alabama is found amid America’s ‘Bible Belt.’ A large part of the State’s population is religious, and this has resulted in the majority deeming Gambling as a whole, illegal in the State. However, on the contrary, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does not classify online poker as illegal; therefore, it is not deemed illegal under federal laws. Various interpretations of the law have sparked a significant controversy on the legality of poker in Alabama, with social and religious groups being the most influential driving forces against it.
In Alabama law, gambling is defined in Section 13A-12-20 of the state statutes as follows: “a person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”
The current Governor of the state, Gov. Kay Ivey, has recently signed an executive order for a study to look into expanding gambling. This study is to be done by a team of a dozen specialists, and no bill will be signed until at least 2021, after the study is completed.
At the moment, there is no written law about gambling online in the State. Although the current laws for gambling apply to online gambling, no one has ever been prosecuted for it.
There are no standard poker rooms in the state of Alabama. It is considered a Class A misdemeanor if a person is found with a gambling device as stated above. Bar poker games can be found occasionally, but no casino offers poker in this State.
In Alabama, there are three tree tribal casinos: Creek Casino Montgomery, Creek Casino Wetumpka, and Wind Creek Casino & Hotel. These are owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and operated by PCI Gaming and the Gaming Authority of the Poarch Bank of Creek Indians. In these casinos the only games allowed are bingo and electronic slots.
You can also travel to neighboring states like Florida or Mississippi to enjoy the experience of the numerous casinos and poker rooms available in these States.
Online Poker Sites
Online poker offers players in Alabama the opportunity to enjoy and play with real money. All that is required is to create an account with one of the numerous sites that offer this service.
Online poker sites possess gambling licenses. They also have big signup and deposit bonuses in addition to other promotions that enhance your gaming experience. Online poker is also private, as only you have access to your account. These sites also provide users with the opportunity to deposits funds via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, thereby increasing the anonymity of their users.
The top poker sites that accept players from Alabama include:
- BetOnline poker
- Americas Cardroom
BetOnline Poker is one of the best poker sites in the US and is also accessible in the state of Alabama. It has been available since 1991 but only became operational in 2011. It offers a 100% welcome bonuses for new players, up to $1,000. BetOnline offers poker of course, and also other games and slots.
Americas Cardroom offers a 100% welcome bonus to new customers up to $1,000. It is home to lots of poker games and supports a good number of cryptocurrencies. It has a very strong loyalty program to reward their core customers.