It’s been a yo-yo experience for Alabama sports betting. Bringing legal online sports betting to the state once seemed unthinkable, but in early 2021 the tides turned and Alabaman football fans thought they could be betting soon in Alabama. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look to be the case during 2021.
For a moment, it 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. As a result, voters will not get the opportunity to vote on sports wagering legalization on the November 2022 ballot.
Thus, any hopes for a mobile sports betting launch (or any legal sports wagering in Alabama) by 2023 have died with a whimper. It’s important to understand the sports wagering and gambling industry in this state, however, and why the state legislature came to this conclusion. We can better predict when Alabama sports betting will come to the state.
Alabama Sports Betting Timeline
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.
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.
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’s Legal Sportsbooks – Why You Should Use Them
Unfortunately, it’ll be at least several years 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 come 2023.
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 Updates
As mentioned, Alabama’s state legislature failed to pass SB 319: the major piece of sports betting legislation that would have called for a statewide referendum regarding the legality of online sports betting and other gambling forms, like online casino games.
Things first began to develop in the first half of 2021, when SB 319 was written and passed by the state Senate. Furthermore, SB 310, another key Senate bill, designated that a new Alabama Gaming Commission would be in charge of administering and overseeing state gambling operations provided that they were legalized after a state referendum.
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.
But although the House of Representatives heard SB 319 debated multiple times before the last day of their legislative session, they decided not to vote on the bill whatsoever. This could indicate two things: that the state legislature doesn’t currently think sports betting or other gambling legalization is important enough to warrant a vote, or that it was a deliberate attempt to prevent a vote from occurring out of fear that the measure would pass.
Regardless, the lack of a positive vote on SB 319 has solidified a grim reality for Alabama sports bettors. The earliest that Alabama citizens can vote on sports wagering is now 2024, which means that sports wagering won’t come earlier than 2025.
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, which is set to begin in 2023.
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.
As a result, future sports betting legalization efforts will have to wait until 2023 at the earliest.
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.
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.
Alabama Sports Betting FAQs
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.
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.
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.
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.