Alabama Sports Betting Ban – No More Online Wagering Permitted
While the Alabama Criminal Code is very clear on gambling for profit, lotteries, betting, and prize disputes, it’s still a given that sports betting is illegal and, likely, never going to be legalized anytime soon in Alabama. State officials claim they are merely doing what is appropriate according to the state’s constitution and have no intentions of changing it. However, many residents in Alabama feel that officials have not done enough to let residents enjoy their right to wager on sports without fear of prosecution. In this case, we’ll take a look at how gambling has percolated into society in general, the legal issues surrounding it, and the possibility of it eventually being legalized in Alabama.
Many states have already legalized sports betting and, as such, have laws on the books that outline the odds and payouts for games. The different states have also created some sort of gambling infrastructure in order to support organized, gambling sports betting. However, many of these conservative states, like Alabama, are firmly against gambling and have limited licensed establishments for both online and offline gambling. This leaves the door wide open for people to wager unlicensed online or off-line. In other words, gambling by citizens is not only legal but often encouraged by the legislature and local law enforcement.
Despite the fact that most cities in the United States have at least one casino or sports betting parlor, Alabama is the only state that explicitly authorizes private individuals to participate in sports betting without any government oversight or regulation. In a famous decision from the Alabama Supreme Court in 1992, the court ruled that a casino had the right to ban a native Indian from placing sports bets on the system. The court claimed that the Native Americans had a “lack of knowledge of the rules of gambling.” The majority of Alabama citizens, according to the Alabama Supreme Court, didn’t know the law well enough to know whether they were violating the law when placing sports bets. The court felt that the Native Americans had no way of knowing if they were breaking the law or not before the case went to trial. This was in direct contrast to neighboring states that had very restrictive laws regarding gambling.
Today, the minimum age to gamble in Alabama has been established at twenty-one years of age. The restriction of the minimum age doesn’t apply to resident players of the casinos that operate in Alabama. As previously stated, the lack of a minimum age to gamble in the constitution amendment was meant to discourage minors from accessing the sports betting industry. Unfortunately, the lack of a minimum age means that anyone, with the exception of a parent or legal guardian, can gamble without supervision. This has resulted in rampant gambling among teens and young adults in Alabama and across the country.
There are a number of problems that arise from this situation. For example, while Alabama may have established itself as a sports-betting state, many residents fail to realize that the law does not apply to them when they place their bets on NCAA football and basketball games. In order to place a bet on a sports game in Alabama, you need to have your state ID and a credit card with a verified financial institution. Once you’ve done this, you can then access the website of the online sports books. According to the law, all online sports books are not subject to the regulatory standards that regulate traditional brick-and-mortar bookies. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for people to wager large amounts of money on NCAA games without following the law.
Because of these loopholes, the Alabama legislature felt it was necessary to amend the law to include a stipulation that all online gambling will be subject to the same regulations as regular gambling. This stipulation was included in the recently passed Gambling Control Act of 2021. While it hasn’t changed the laws governing where people can wager, the ban on online gambling has. Despite the new stipulation in the law, Alabama still allows residents to partake in online sports betting; only they need a financial institution to do so. Unfortunately, these changes haven’t been put into effect, so you will still be able to take part in online betting if you want to.
However, the recent ruling by the supreme court did affect other areas of Alabama’s laws. For instance, the law doesn’t cover greyhound racing anymore. The high court ruled that the games held at state racetrack facilities were held outside of the state, so the Alabama Highways Commission could not ban them. Now, any type of gambling conducted at racetrack facilities will need a license from the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles.
According to the NCAA, none number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2021) is allowed to issue any form of wagers from the comfort of the home. However, these laws do not extend to the games of chance such as lotto or bingo, nor do they apply to online sports betting. These games are already illegal in the state of Alabama, so why would a legislature want to make them legal again? However, since this isn’t likely to change anytime in the near future, this isn’t a problem for most people. Alabama has plenty of other problems to worry about, so why not enjoy your gambling while in the state?