Alaska is known for having some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the country. Today, there are almost no legal ways for residents of this state to make wagers. Recently, however, lawmakers here discussed the possibility of allowing a casino in Eklutna.
A prominent Native American tribe is arguing that this is sovereign land. One government body has rejected this notion. Let’s look at what exactly is happening here.
Gambling Laws in Alaska, Explained
As we’ve already mentioned, Alaska has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country. Section 11.66.270 of the State’s Statutes defines the legality of “games of chance.”
(1) “contest of chance” means a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that the skill of the contestants may also be a factor.
(2) “gambling” means that a person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that that person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.
Today, there are no traditional casinos in this state. 2 Class II gambling venues are operating here, yet they are only able to offer bingo and pull-tab games.
Many gambling analysts believed that Alaska would never allow new gambling venues to open. To the surprise of many, another casino may soon be operating in the village of Eklutna.
Anchorage Mayor Supports Plans for a Casino in Eklutna
Eklutna is a native village in the Municipality of Anchorage. The Tribal Council estimates the population at just 70. Recently, officials in this village have pushed for the right to open a gambling venue.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz supports this idea. He commented on the opening of a casino to the media last year.
“The Municipality of Anchorage supports the (Native Village of Eklutna’s) goals of economic determination and believes both the tribe and the surrounding community will benefit from the jobs and related economic development the project will bring.”
Unfortunately, not everyone in the state feels the same way. In fact, Berkowitz’s opinion went largely unreported in Alaska. Late last year, Alaska’s Department of Interior ruled that the parcel of land that Eklunta residents want to build a casino on is “not Indian land.” The tribe here is now suing the Department of Interior over this opinion.
It seems likely that Eklunta will win this legal battle. The land is undoubtedly tribal land and, since 1988, Native American Tribes have the right to operate gambling venues on sovereign land.
Online Gambling Options in Alaska
There are almost no legal venues in this state that offer gambling options. Fortunately, a huge number of great online casinos in AK are currently available. The vast majority of these sites are safe and offer more gambling options than the top land-based casinos in Las Vegas.
One of the best today is Bovada Casino. This site has grown extremely popular throughout the US in recent years. Thousands of different wagering options are available every day through this casino website.
Alaska has no laws that specifically ban online casino gambling. Many individuals are realizing how fun and easy online gambling really is. Feel free to check out some of the sites available here for yourself!
The proposed casino in Eklutna will hopefully be approved in the next few months. Unfortunately, it will only be eligible to offer Class II games. Perhaps in time, Alaska will adopt more modern gambling laws and lawmakers will choose to legalize full-scale casino gambling and sports betting.
Make sure to stay tuned for more US gambling news over the next few weeks!