Alaska has some of the strictest anti-gambling regulations in the United States, and this isn’t likely to change in the foreseeable future. Most traditional forms of gambling are banned, and local lawmakers aren’t interested in relaxing the law in response to any developments on the federal level. The last push to legalize gambling within state lines came in 2008, but voters were decidedly against changing the status quo.
The local regulations are rather archaic and haven’t been updated to address the issue of internet gaming, but the general definition of gambling is broad enough to cover online games. Gambling is defined as “staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or future contingent not under one’s contingent or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that person will receive something of value in event of a certain outcome.” The law does not apply to social gambling and home games, but that doesn’t affect the legal status of internet sites that offer real money games.
Gambling in Alaska is covered by Alaska Code, section 11.66.200 et. seq. Engaging in unlawful gambling is considered a violation for the first offense and a class B misdemeanor for the second and subsequent offenses. A computer or mobile device equipped with gambling software could also be considered a gambling device, which constitutes a class A misdemeanor. In addition, Alaska’s forfeiture law allows the state to confiscate any devices utilized for gambling and any money used as a bet or stake.
Sec. 11.16.110. Legal accountability based upon the conduct of another.
A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another constituting an offense if
(1) the person is made legally accountable by a provision of law defining the offense;
(2) with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of the offense, the person
(A) solicits the other to commit the offense; or
(B) aids or abets the other in planning or committing the offense; or
(3) acting with the culpable mental state that is sufficient for the commission of the offense, the person causes an innocent person or a person who lacks criminal responsibility to engage in the proscribed conduct.
Sec. 11.66.200. Gambling.
(a) A person commits the offense of gambling if the person engages in unlawful gambling.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the defendant was a player in a social game.
(c) Gambling is a violation for the first offense. Gambling is a class B misdemeanor for the second and each subsequent offense.
Sec. 11.66.210. Promoting gambling in the first degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of promoting gambling in the first degree if the person promotes or profits from an unlawful gambling enterprise.
(b) Promoting gambling in the first degree is a class C felony.
Sec. 11.66.220. Promoting gambling in the second degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of promoting gambling in the second degree if the person promotes or profits from unlawful gambling.
(b) Promoting gambling in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Sec. 11.66.230. Possession of gambling records in the first degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of possession of gambling records in the first degree if, with knowledge of its contents or character, the person possesses a gambling record used or intended to be used in the operation or promotion of an unlawful gambling enterprise.
(b) Possession of gambling records in the first degree is a class C felony.
Sec. 11.66.240. Possession of gambling records in the second degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of possession of gambling records in the second degree if, with knowledge of its contents or character, the person possesses a gambling record.
(b) Possession of gambling records in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Sec. 11.66.250. Affirmative defenses.
(a) It is an affirmative defense in a prosecution under AS 11.66.230 that the gambling record was possessed by the defendant solely as a player.
(b) It is an affirmative defense in a prosecution under AS 11.66.230 or 11.66.240 that the gambling record (1) was not used or intended to be used by the defendant in the operation or promotion of unlawful gambling; (2) was used or intended to be used by the defendant in a social game.
Sec. 11.66.260. Possession of a gambling device.
(a) A person commits the offense of possession of a gambling device if, with knowledge of the character of the device, the person manufactures, sells, transports, places, or possesses, or conducts or negotiates a transaction affecting or designed to affect ownership, custody, or use of, a gambling device knowing that the device is used or is to be used in unlawful gambling.
(b) It is an affirmative defense in a prosecution under this section that the gambling device possessed by the defendant was used or intended to be used only in a social game.
(c) Possession of a gambling device is a class A misdemeanor.
Sec. 11.66.270. Forfeiture.
If used in violation of AS 11.66.200 – 11.66.280, the following property shall be forfeited:
(1) a gambling device or gambling record; (2) money, not found on the person, used as a bet or stake; (3) money used as a bet or stake which is found on the person of one who conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlawful gambling enterprise.
Sec. 11.66.280. Definitions.
In AS 11.66.200 – 11.66.280, unless the context requires otherwise,
(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; “gambling” does not include
(A) bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health, or accident insurance;
(B) playing an amusement device that
(i) confers only an immediate right of replay not exchangeable for something of value other than the privilege of immediate replay; and
(ii) does not contain a method or device by which the privilege of immediate replay may be cancelled or revoked; or
(C) an activity authorized by the Department of Revenue under AS 05.15;
(3) “gambling device” means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of unlawful gambling, whether it consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine; “gambling device” does not include
(A) lottery tickets, policy slips, or other items used in the playing phases of lottery or policy schemes; or
(B) an amusement device as described in (2)(B) of this section;
(4) “gambling enterprise” means a gambling business that
(A) includes five or more persons who conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of the business;
(B) has been or remains in substantially continuous operation for a period in excess of 30 days or has a gross income of $2,000 or more in any single day; and
(C) is not a municipality or a qualified organization under AS 05.15.690, except that, for purposes of this paragraph, no application for a license under AS 05.15 is required to be considered a qualified organization;
(5) “gambling record” means any writing or paper of a kind commonly used in the operation or promotion of unlawful gambling and includes lottery tickets, policy slips, or other writings or papers used in the playing phases of lottery or policy schemes;
(6) “player” means a person who engages in gambling solely as a contestant or bettor, believing that the risk of losing and the chances of winning are the same for all participants except for the advantages of skill and luck, without receiving or becoming entitled to receive any profit from gambling other than personal gambling winnings and without otherwise rendering any material assistance to the establishment, conduct, or operation of the particular gambling activity, except that, for purposes of this paragraph, a person who gambles at a social game on equal terms with the other participants does not “otherwise render material assistance” to the establishment, conduct, or operation by performing, without fee or remuneration, acts directed towards the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises for the game, or supplying cards or other equipment used in the game;
(7) “profits from gambling” means that a person, acting other than as a player, accepts or receives money or other property under an agreement or understanding with another person by which the person participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling;
(8) “promoting gambling” means that a person, acting other than as a player, engages in conduct that materially aids any form of gambling; conduct of this nature includes
(A) conduct directed toward the
(i) creation or establishment of the particular gambling activity or acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment, or apparatus used in the gambling;
(ii) conduct of the playing phases of gambling; or
(iii) arrangement of the financial or recording phase of gambling or toward any other phase of its operation; or
(B) having control or right of control over premises that are used with the defendant’s knowledge for purposes of gambling and permitting the gambling to occur or continue without making an effort to prevent its occurrence or continuation;
(9) “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;
(10) “something of value” means any money or property; any token, object, or article exchangeable for money or property; and any form of credit or promise directly or indirectly contemplating transfer of money or property or of an interest in money or property or involving extension of a service, entertainment, or privilege of playing at a game or scheme without charge;
(11) “unlawful” means not specifically authorized by law.