For various historical reasons related to religion and morality in the United States, gambling is generally considered a vice that must be regulated heavily, except in the rare gambling meccas of Las Vegas or Atlantic City or on tribal lands where casinos have been developed.The following table details the gambling laws in Alabama.
|Code Sections||Alabama Code Title 13A: Criminal Code, Chapter 12: Offenses Against Public Health & Morals, Article 2: Gambling Offenses
Title 11: Counties & Municipal Corporations, Chapter 65: Horse Racing & Greyhound Racing in Class 1 Municipalities
|Gambling||Gambling is defined as when a person stakes or risks something of value on the outcome of a game of chance or future event not under his or her control or influence, by an understanding that he or she or another person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. Investments, such as securities or commodities, which can also be risky, are excluded from this definition.
If a person illegally has a gambling device, such as a slot machine, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and be sentenced to up to a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine.
|Casinos||Gambling devices are banned by the state, which therefore generally prohibits casinos. However, as the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians legally operates three casinos in Alabama. The state recognizes eight other tribes, but these tribes can’t have casinos, as the same federally recognized tribal sovereignty doesn’t apply to their situation.|
|Horse Racing and Off-Track Betting||By Alabama law, cities of 300,000 inhabitants or more are allowed to determine by referendum whether horseracing will be permitted. There are no active horse racing tracks in Alabama. There are also no cities of 300,000 or more, although the greater Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville metropolitan or county areas would probably qualify.|
|Dog Racing and Off-Track Betting||Despite greyhound racing being illegal in 39 states, two tracks in Alabama continue to run these races. Again, cities of 300,000 or more are permitted to have dog racing, in particular greyhound racing. These racetracks are outside Birmingham and Mobile.|
|Other Types of Gambling-Related Activities||Pari-mutuel betting is allowed in conjunction with horse and dog racing, including televised horse and dog racing in other areas. However, the parimutuel betting must be run through part of a gambling commission for the municipal area and be licensed by the state. Gambling facilities operating outside the state laws are still illegal.|
|Help with Problem Gambling||If you or a loved one has a gambling problem, you may want to call the confidential National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 to talk about it. The helpline is available 24/7.|
|Getting Legal Help||If you’re facing a gambling related criminal charge, you should speak with an experienced local criminal defense attorney or your public defender as soon as possible.|
Note: Because state laws change frequently, it’s important to verify the state laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or by consulting with an experienced Alabama gaming law attorney.
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