Alaska doesn’t even have a lottery, but at least one state lawmaker hopes to bring mobile sports betting to the Last Frontier.
State Rep. Adam Wool, a Democrat, introduced House Bill 385 on Tuesday. Highlights of the legislation include:
- Legalized mobile betting on collegiate and professional sporting events;
- Legalized prop bets, pools, parlays, and straight-up wins-losses;
- The minimum age to bet is 21 years of age;
- No bets on high school athletics;
- 12% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue;
- Licensing fee set at $5,000;
- Limits the number of mobile apps to 10.
The bill was referred to the House State Affairs Committee.
When Will Sports Betting Come To Alaska?
Ken Alper, an aide to Wool, said the legislation is an early step in what could be a long process to bring sports betting north to the 49th state.
Wool, a native of Massachusetts, has seen sports betting legislation unfold in the Lower 48 since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the prohibition of full-scale sports betting in states other than Nevada.
Alper said representatives from sports betting companies approached his boss in 2021 about drafting legislation. It took several months for the details to be worked out and presented as a bill.
Wool’s legislation was introduced at the midway point of the 2022 session, and Alper explained it is unlikely to see final passage this year.
“This week has the 35th day of the second session in our two-year legislature,” Alper wrote in an email to Gaming Today. “That date triggers an internal rule called the ‘personal bill deadline. It is the last time individual legislators can introduce new bills this year, so it tends to get a flurry of late filings.
“Most of these bills are presented to introduce a concept, make a point, or plan for the future; it is highly unlikely that many of them will make it through the full bicameral committee process in the remaining 2-3 months of session.”
Sports Fans In Alaska Want Sports Betting
Alaska does not have any major league teams but has a large number of fans for Seattle teams, particularly the NHL Kraken. There are also many transplants from Denver, San Francisco, and the midwest who remain loyal to their home teams. Wool is a fan of the New England Patriots, and Alper, a native of New Jersey, roots for the New York Jets.
While Alper doesn’t expect the legislation to pass this year, he is optimistic the bill’s introduction will set the groundwork for future success, perhaps as early as 2023.
“This is likely a longer-term project. We intend to try and pass the bill, but the timing is very tight,” he wrote.
“We’d like to get at least a couple committee hearings this spring, which will allow for the executive branch to provide a ‘fiscal note’ with both revenue estimates as well as implementation costs. Based on what we learn from these early hearings, we may modify the bill for reintroduction in 2023.”