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To ask if the residents here even want poker in Alaska would definitely not yield the best results.
It’s true – a few years ago the state held a poll. They asked if Alaska residents wanted a gaming commission so that they could offer and oversee charitable gaming and similar activities.
They said “No.”
Nearly any other state would be happy their state asked, let alone considered legalized gaming.
But Alaska residents just don’t appear to be interested. And that might explain why there’s little poker in the state.
Don’t get me wrong – you do have options if you’re a resident here. It’s just that your options are few and far apart. Let’s look at what those are now.
Let’s Start With Home Games
This appears to be one of your only legal options in Alaska.
But there are rules.
The primary rule is that you cannot take a cut from the poker game. According to this statute you cannot charge people to play:
A “social game” means gambling in a home where no house player, house bank, or house odds exist and where there is no house income from the operation of the game.
So… so long as the only money that exchanges hands is the money you play with (and win), you’ll be just fine.
Online Poker in Alaska
Like many states Alaska says nothing in their books about online poker.
Their laws are from the stone age.
So all we have to go off of is their current laws and things that important people in the state might say.
Such as the Attorney General. Back in 2001 he gave his opinion on wagering on computers games – it constituted illegal gambling.
You can easily apply this to online poker.
But it doesn’t sound like this bothers most people in the state anyway. Most voted against any form of gaming commission which would only help poker (and all forms of gambling) progress in the state.
The only exception is local businesses that want to promote their (legal) gambling services on the internet. Advertising is fine – but that’s the extent of it.
But Surely You Can Play Live Poker at a Casino Here?
For one thing, you won’t find any casinos in Alaska.
And second, for the longest time live poker wasn’t allowed in the state.
However, the state has had a change of hard. They’ve tweaked their laws so that smaller card rooms and gaming halls can offer poker.
But this comes at a hefty price.
Businesses that want to offer poker will have to pay $25,000 for a license. Then, on top of that, they’d have to pay $10,000 per table.
Now, think about this — $10,000 (per table!) is expensive. When you consider how few people live in the state, let alone per town or village, how few towns/villages are apart and how few visitors/tourists they must get…
… how the heck do they expect anyone to make that money back, per table, in a reasonable time frame?
Apparently, I’m not the only one asking this question. Because even though the live poker scene in Alaska is growing, it’s slow going to say the least.
What Does Alaska’s Future Look Like?
The future isn’t very bright in Alaska as of right now. However, other poker portals suggest might even see changes from Alaska by 2020.
Even if the state considered legalizing online poker, they’d have some hurdles to jump first.
For example, they’d have no choice but to add statutes that allowed them to make intrastate pacts with other states.
Well, there’s no way they can host a state-only poker site with 700,000 people. Keep in mind that only a fraction of the population plays poker (online), and that not all of them will play at the same time.
A small player pool just wouldn’t be worth the hassle. They’d need other states to increase player liquidity (and potential revenue).
And from the sounds of it the internet isn’t all that great here. There is decent broadband services throughout the state, but connection speeds are much faster in bigger cities like Anchorage. Other rural areas are not so lucky, and I wouldn’t tempt playing much online via a dial-up connection.
Between those issues and the attitude of the state and its residents and, well, the future isn’t looking very good for Alaskan poker players. If there is some sort of movement on this issue down the road, rest assured this page will be properly updated.