Alabama Sports Betting

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Alabama Map

Legal sports betting in Alabama took one step closer to becoming a reality in early March 2022 when “The Gambling Control Bill” was passed by the Senate Tourism Committee.

State Sen. Greg Albritton, a Republican, said the unofficial name of the proposal is appropriate because gambling is already taking place in Alabama, albeit illegally.

“This is not an expansion bill, this is a control bill,” he said.

The measure, Senate Bill 294, now goes before the full Senate for consideration.

As written, the legislation proposes:

  • The minimum age to place a sports bet is 21;
  • Mobile and retail sports betting is allowed;
  • $100,000 license fee for a sports operator;
  • 20% tax on gross revenues paid to the state by sports betting operator;
  • Professional and collegiate sports bets, as well as prop bets are permitted.

If the measure is approved by both chambers, it would go before the Alabama voters in November. The Alabama Legislature is set to adjourn April 7, and there is still opposition in the House that will have to be overcome.

“We have the vehicle, if you will, to move this along. We have the votes in the House and Senate to pass these bills,” Albritton previously told Alabama Public Television. “(But) I’ve been told by House leadership, ‘don’t bring it up. Don’t do it. We’re not going to deal with it this year,’” he said.

Albritton was referring to three separate gambling bills he said he plans to introduce. There would be a commission for gambling, online gaming, and sports betting, he said.

“Can you imagine how much money was won or lost in the last three minutes of the Iron Bowl, played in Alabama, by Alabama players – Auburn and Alabama – and the money went to Las Vegas?” said a frustrated Albritton.

Last year, it briefly looked as though Alabama might provide its citizens with the opportunity to vote on whether to allow legal sports wagering, casino expansions, and more. Alabama SB 319, which passed in the Senate on April 13, reached the Alabama House of Representatives on April 15.

Though the House of Representatives heard the bill twice before May 4, they eventually decided not to vote on SB 319 on the final day of its legislative session for 2021.  

In late February 2022, state Rep. John Rogers introduced House Bill 405, which would bring sports betting to Jefferson County, and only Jefferson County. Mobile betting would be allowed, and betting would be restricted to those 21 and older.

Let’s examine when Alabama sports betting could come to the state.

Alabama Sports Betting Updates

“The Gambling Control Bill” was passed by the Senate Tourism Committee on March 9, 2022.  Senate Bill 294 went before the full Senate for consideration in early April 2022. 

The measure needed approved by both chambers for it to go before the Alabama voters in November. The Alabama Legislature failed to approve the bill, unfortunately, and comments by Senator Greg Albritton don’t bode well for the state’s immediate gambling future. Albritton believes his peers simply don’t want to deal with it at this time.

Despite Albritton’s statement, he may introduce the bill to legislation again next session. That means 2024 is likely the earliest we could see Alabama have sportsbooks up and running.

Because of Alabama’s state constitution, individual voters would have had to vote to legalize sports wagering and other gambling expansions on the November 2022 ballot. This is also the year in which the state’s senators would have been up for reelection.

Alabama Sports Betting Timeline

  • April 4, 2022:

    Gambling legislation failed to pass through the Alabama legislature. Baldwin County Senator Greg Albritton plans on reintroducing the bill next session.

  • March 9, 2022:

    “The Gambling Control Bill” was passed by the Senate Tourism Committee.  The measure, Senate Bill 294, now goes before the full Senate for consideration.

  • February 26, 2022:

    Sen. Greg Albritton has three separate gambling bills he said he plans to introduce, but says it may be a moot point because of opposition in the House.

    “We have the vehicle, if you will, to move this along. We have the votes in the House and Senate to pass these bills,” state Sen. Greg Albritton told Alabama Public Television over the weekend.

    “(But) I’ve been told by House leadership, ‘don’t bring it up. Don’t do it. We’re not going to deal with it this year,’” he said.

  • February 23, 2022:

    State Rep. John Rogers introduced House Bill 405, which would bring sports betting to Jefferson County, and only Jefferson County.

    Jefferson County is the home of Birmingham and is located in the central part of the state. It is the most populated county in Alabama.

    HB 405 would create a Jefferson County Sports Wagering Commission, which would be in charge of administering the program. Adjusted gross receipts from sports betting would be taxed at 10 percent. Mobile betting would be allowed, and betting would be restricted to those 21 and older.

     

  • May 17, 2021:

    The Alabama House of Representatives ends its legislative session without voting on SB 319, meaning sports wagering legalization will have to wait until 2024 at the earliest.

  • January 2, 2021:

    Both SB 319 and SB 310 are presented and pass in the Senate. These bills would have legalized sports betting, online casino games, and more and instituted a new Alabama Gaming Commission to oversee the industries.

  • June 5, 2020:

    HB 336 appears then stalls in committee. This bill would have legalized mobile sports betting and tax revenue at a rate of 10%.

  • February 7, 2019:

    HB 315 is presented but fails in committee. It is neither passed in the Senate or the House of Representatives. However, daily fantasy sports is legalized this year.

Top Sportsbook Apps In Alabama

Since Alabama’s legal wagering industry is nowhere near as developed and robust compared to the industries in other states, there’s no telling what sports betting sites may come to this state in the future.

While there are a few tribal casinos up and running at the moment, none of these have active partnerships with major sportsbook operators. But we can make some very tentative predictions about which sportsbooks may pursue licensure if and when they are able to.

  • DraftKings may try to launch sports wagering in this state once legalization finally occurs. That’s because this operator already provides daily fantasy sports to Alabama residents. In addition, DraftKings has a major market presence in the eastern US, with its headquarters being based in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • FanDuel also provides daily fantasy sports to Alabama residents, so it and DraftKings are the two big mobile operators currently active and attracting eyeballs in the state. Like DraftKings, FanDuel may want to take the opportunity to expand in the Alabama market at their earliest opportunity, especially given the potential profits they might enjoy (more on that below).
  • BetMGM is an up-and-coming sportsbook that has a major presence in states like Colorado and New Jersey. It may also attempt to provide mobile sports wagering or retail sports wagering to Alabama residents upon legalization of the industry.
  • BetRivers is a solid bet for future sports wagering operators, both for its excellent user interface and popularity across the industry.
  • Caesars Sportsbook, a well-known name in the gambling industry, Caesars recently purchased William Hill, which was on a huge expansion plan in the US. Alabama may also be on its long-term radar for a possible expansion candidate.

However, remember that these are tentative guesses at best. Sports wagering most likely will not be legalized for several years given  the state legislature’s inaction. The above list could change significantly between now and the earliest possible launch date for Alabama sports betting.

Alabama’s Legal Sportsbooks – Why You Should Use Them

Unfortunately, it’ll be awhile before legal sports betting comes to Alabama. That can make it tempting to check out offshore or illegal betting sites in the meantime, but we do not recommend this. Illegal sportsbooks have subpar digital security and don’t provide excellent betting odds.

This means your personal information and any funds you provide to the offshore betting site will be at risk, either for theft from the betting site itself or another cybercriminal. The subpar betting odds also mean that your wagering profits will be lower than average.

Legal sports wagering sites will have excellent digital security, player-friendly odds using data from official league sources, and a variety of excellent features, such as opening bonuses. All in all, the wait is looking to be a long one, but it’s still better to bide your time and wait for sports wagering legalization than it is to risk your money on an illegal betting app.

Alabama Sports Betting Revenue

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the formation of a special 12 person panel in February 2020. The purpose of the panel was to determine how much money, if any, legal sports wagering would bring to the state government.

The panel then commissioned a special study, which compared Alabama’s prospective sports wagering and gambling industries against the industries of nearby states like New Jersey. The study found very promising results; according to its authors, online casino games alone would generate up to $400 million in revenue per year.

Furthermore, a hypothetical state lottery would also generate potentially as much as $300 million. Legal sports wagering would potentially bring in another $10 million in tax revenue each year. Several experts in the gambling industry believe these tax figures are relatively conservative.

In other words, Alabama’s state government has certainly shot itself in the foot by not allowing legal sports wagering to proceed. The revenue the state government will now miss out on can no longer be required for at least several years.

This might be a blessing in disguise, however. As other states continue to rake in sports betting and other gambling revenue streams, Alabama’s state government will undoubtedly see the shortsightedness they displayed in the last legislative session. In some ways, the revenue they will lose out on in the short term may make sports wagering legalization more likely to come sooner rather than later.

How Alabama Sports Betting Compares To Other States

Alabama, despite its major sports focus among its state representatives and its citizenry, measures up poorly compared to other states with legal sports betting industries. Take Tennessee, for example. Though this state only offers mobile sports betting, it still provides sports betting enthusiasts multiple options in which to put money down on their favorite sporting events.

States like New Jersey highlight the lack of progress Alabama has displayed so far even further. This state offers both retail and mobile sports betting options. States like Georgia are farther ahead in their legalization process than Alabama by a long shot.

Alabama’s other gambling options aren’t very well developed or varied, either. There are only three brick-and-mortar casinos in this state, all of them run by the same Native American tribe: the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Each casino is a Class II facility, meaning they aren’t able to provide “Vegas-style” games like blackjack, slot machines, and more.

Online casino games are strictly out, and Alabama is one of the few states without a dedicated state lottery. Suffice it to say that Alabama gambling fans have to cross the border to enjoy almost any form of gambling aside from horse race wagering, which is allowed through pari-mutuel competitions.

Alabama Sports Betting Successes And Failures

So far, there haven’t been many successes to speak of when it comes to Alabama’s sports betting industry.

Alabama Sports Betting Success

To be fair, there have been several pushes for sports wagering in the past. After all, the Alabama Senate quickly passed SB 319 and SB 310, both of which would have legalized sports wagering and set up a new regulatory commission to oversee the budding industry.

This goes to show that there are plenty of legislators within Alabama that do want to legalize sports betting as soon as possible. With luck, these same Senators will continue the push in the next legislative session.

Where Alabama Could Improve Its Online Gambling

Naturally, Alabama can do a lot to improve its online gambling across a variety of sectors. For example, legalizing sports betting would bring in tons of revenue for the state government and prevent sports bettors from having to hop across state lines to get their fixes.

It would also be nice to see Alabama legalize online casino games, or at least expand its retail casino provisions to allow the current Native American casinos to offer Class I gaming activities like slot games and blackjack.

While the introduction of a state lottery would be welcome as well, we aren’t holding our breath for the expansion of an online lottery system. Even states with official lotteries don’t usually offer online lottery participation to prevent corruption.

Sports Betting Legalization Efforts In Alabama

The push to legalize sports wagering in Alabama started a little later here than it did in other states. Although the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018, Alabama didn’t start discussions about legal sports wagering until the 2021 legislative session. The state had a full year in 2019 to work toward legalizing the industry but did not make any substantial progress.

During the 2021 legislative session, however, things changed dramatically. The Senate introduced and passed a pair of bills that would have both legalized sports betting and online casino games (alongside other gambling expansions) and launched a new regulatory committee to oversee all of these industries.

Unfortunately, legislation efforts came to a standstill when both bills reached the Alabama House of Representatives. Rather than voting on SB 319, the House of Representatives simply refused to debate the bill and ran out the clock, letting the legislative session end without a vote.

There was some positive traction early in 2022. “The Gambling Control Bill” was passed by the Senate Tourism Committee in March. The Alabama Legislature is set to adjourn April 7, and there is still opposition in the House that will have to be overcome. But if the measure is approved by both chambers, it would go before the Alabama voters in November.

Alabama Sports Teams

There’s no denying that Alabama is a big state for sports, especially college sports. Should sports wagering eventually come to this state, bettors will have lots of different options.

Pro Sports Teams In Alabama

There aren’t any major league franchises with homes in Alabama. However, Alabama residents don’t let this stop them and are big fans of major sports franchises in neighboring states like Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. Sportsbooks in Alabama will let you bet on sporting events in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and other professional sports leagues and tournaments.

Alabama College Sports Teams

College sports will be huge in any future sports betting industry in Alabama. Football, in particular, is like a religion in this state, partially because the state maintains five universities with major college football programs.

Of these, the most popular is the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, a team that almost single-handedly drives football fanaticism to levels not seen in other states. There’s a good reason for this, as the Alabama Crimson Tide has claimed 17 national titles over its history. 

With the return of the college football season nearing, expect hype to build around the Crimson Tide.

Suffice it to say that college football betting will be very popular in this state once the industry launches. Alongside college football, expect to be able to place bets on college basketball, college baseball, and other sporting events.

But be aware that the Alabama legislature may limit college betting to some degree. Many other states don’t allow wagers to be placed on in-state teams or games; time will tell whether Alabama goes this route or makes an exception to the popularity of college sports here.

Other Sports To Bet On In Alabama

Aside from college and professional sports, sportsbooks in this state will also let you put money down on events like NASCAR races, MMA fighting, eSports, cricket, rugby, and more. 

How To Place A Bet In Alabama

Even though determining the details of sports betting in Alabama is tricky, we can safely predict the process you’ll need to go through in order to put money down on your favorite sporting event.

Download An App

No matter what the specifics of Alabama’s sports betting industry are, you’ll be able to download a mobile sports betting app to your iPhone or Android device. The process may be slightly different depending on the type of device you have.

If you’re an iPhone user, all you have to do is download the app you want from the App Store. If you’re an Android user, you’ll likely be able to download the app of your choice from the Google Play store. Google has been legalizing more and more legal sportsbooks for download from its proprietary store over response. By the time 2025 rolls around, this may comprise all popular sportsbooks on the market.

Alternatively, you may be required to download your Android sportsbook from the operator’s desktop platform.

When installing the main sportsbook app, you’ll also have to download geolocation software that will track your location and stop you from using the book outside state lines.

Register For The Sportsbook

Registration is where things get a little tricky. There are two types of registration processes: online-only and in-person.

Should Alabama decide to allow online-only registration, all sports bettors will need to do is give the mobile app they’ve just downloaded their personal information. A new registrant will need to provide their Social Security number, date of birth, and other information to verify their age and identity. The entire process will only take a few minutes as the sportsbook’s staff reviews the information and verifies the account.

But certain states, like Illinois, have imposed in-person registration requirements in the past. These have required sports bettors to visit the partnered casino or racetrack that their chosen app has been “tethered” to in order to complete registration.

Naturally, this is much more inconvenient and annoying than online-only registration. We will know more about whether this is a likely development once sports betting discussion begins again over the next couple of years. More and more states are practicing “free market” sports wagering industries that don’t require tethered partnerships between operators and retail casinos.

Time will tell whether Alabama goes this route or starts legal sports wagering with a more regimented and restrictive approach.

Fund Your Account

Once you’ve downloaded the sportsbook that seems most appealing to you, you’ll need to fund it using one or more methods. Most popular sportsbooks offer a variety of deposit methods for you to use, including debit or credit card transactions, electronic wallet transfers, and more.

Many platforms also offer the opportunity to wire money directly from a linked bank account to your sports betting account. Some of the best include payment limits so you can control how much money you spend on sports wagering every week or month.

Regardless, fund your account and keep any opening bonuses that may apply in mind. DraftKings, for instance, offers a 20% deposit match bonus worth up to $1000 of site credit. How much extra credit you get is dependent on the amount of your initial deposit; deposit more and you’ll get more money to play around with right off the bat.

But also keep the fine print in mind. In the above example, any site credit DraftKings awards you has to be played through 25 times before you can redeem it as cash.

Start Betting

After checking out any applicable opening bonuses and funding your account, all you’ll have to do is navigate to an attractive betting line and start betting on your favorite college and professional sports.

Alabama Sports Betting FAQs

How old will I have to be to bet online in Alabama?

You’ll likely have to be 21 or older to bet online in Alabama if online gambling ever comes to this state. This is the most common legal age for online sports betting in other states across the US.

Will it be legal to bet on college sports in Alabama?

Most likely. Alabama is a huge hotspot for college sports, even compared to other fanatical states like Texas.

The Crimson Tide is a force to be reckoned with in this state, and we can’t imagine a future sports betting industry that doesn’t allow some provisions for college betting if sports wagering is legalized. However, be prepared for some limitations on propositions or prop bets if college betting markets do crop up.

Restrictions on these bets will be intended to prevent abuse of players or teams and prevent betting corruption.

Will it be safe to use legal Alabama online sportsbook apps?

Yes. Any legal sportsbooks that eventually launch in Alabama will be overseen by at least one regulatory body, which will investigate them for digital security and a history of excellent performance. SSL certification will be required by default. SSL certification encrypts traffic both to and from your phone and any mobile app you decide to use.

Do you need to be a resident of Alabama to bet online?

No. Alabama’s eventual sportsbooks will require the installation of geolocation software, which will track your location and prevent you from wagering outside state lines. But you don’t have to live in Alabama to use Alabama sportsbooks; you just have to use a different sportsbook if you return to your home state after placing a few bets.

More Resources On Alabama Sports Betting

About the Author
Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.

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