You may not be able to bet on sports in Alabama, but it got a lot easier if you want to bet on sports on November 1, 2020. On that day, Tennessee launched legal sports betting across the state. With no casinos or brick-and-mortar gaming facilities, all of Tennessee’s sports betting can be done from your mobile device or online.
How to bet on sports in Alabama is best answered by telling people to drive north. Mississippi to the west does have legal sports betting as well, but only on-site at retail sportsbooks. Given that most of those are in Tunica or down on the Gulf Coast, that isn’t super convenient for Alabama residents except for those in and around Mobile.
One of the problems in a state like Alabama is that sports betting simply doesn’t get enough support. In states with pro teams and influential major sports leagues, those groups have done a 180 since sports betting took hold and now support legalization across the board. In Alabama, where college sports are king, and old, outdated, archaic mindsets reign supreme about point-shaving and point-fixing from student-athletes, falsehoods are proliferated.
Not to mention, in these southern states, most expansions of gambling are staunchly opposed by elected officials. It is a lot easier to get behind sports betting in a state like Georgia, where the Falcons, Braves, Hawks, the PGA Tour, MLS, and other powerful businesses are behind the efforts to push things forward. The strength of that level of lobbying can push even the most conservative elected officials to side with the majority.
In Alabama, it is a different story. Alabama doesn’t even participate in the lottery. Gambling is just not a fabric of life in the state. There are five states that are not active in the lottery. Alabama is one of them.
Is the tide turning? Pardon the awful pun, but a December 2020 study from Governor Kay Ivey’s office spoke to the impact that casino gaming, sports betting, and the lottery could have for a state in dire need of money, like so many others from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was first commissioned in February and took 10 months to release, which shows the thoroughness of the study.
The overwhelmingly positive report, which would create a lot of jobs and a lot of money for education and infrastructure, should be a hot-button debate topic for the 2021 legislative session.
Ultimately, because gambling is forbidden by the state constitution, it would come to a vote by the people. We’ve seen a lot of states with betting on the ballot and measures haven’t really failed since PASPA was overturned. The common sentiment is that it’s happening and “we” shouldn’t lose money to other states.
For Alabama, specifically, it is happening north in Tennessee and west in Mississippi. While the capital city of Montgomery is a bit of a haul to Tennessee, it isn’t a terribly long trek from places like Birmingham and its suburbs and certainly not for Huntsville, which is much closer to the Tennessee border than either of Alabama’s two major cities.
Initially, it felt like Alabama, which, again, doesn’t even participate in the lottery, was a huge long shot to approve sports betting in a reasonable period of time. Now, it seems that it could happen and may even happen sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, you’ll still have to leave the state to place your legal wagers.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Alabama?
You have to drive north to Tennessee or go west to the retail sportsbooks in Mississippi. Georgia is a state that could approve sports betting in 2021, so that could be a much easier option for places like Montgomery and Auburn and Birmingham, but that hasn’t happened just yet. It does seem like Georgia is a clear favorite over Alabama to have sports betting legalized by the end of the year.
Retail wagering is allowed in Mississippi, which means placing bets in-person at the sportsbook. Most of the state’s sportsbooks are along the Gulf Coast or in Tunica. These aren’t particularly convenient, unless you happen to be vacationing in one of the two places or live in Mobile or another place very deep in the state.
Tennessee will, again pardon the pun, be your best bet for legal sports betting for the foreseeable future. Online and mobile betting in Tennessee means that you can bet from anywhere in the state. That means that all you have to do is turn your location on and be geolocated in Tennessee and you can legally bet on sports.
Tennessee is a Remote Registration state, so you can sign up from anywhere. You just can’t access the real money balance or place bets with your account unless you are physically located in the Volunteer State.
This is a great option and one that is fairly convenient, especially in comparison to what residents of other states have to deal with.
Best Sportsbooks in Alabama
This headline may be slightly misleading, because there are no sportsbooks in Alabama, but the options in Tennessee will be listed here and the hope would be that these are options in Georgia and maybe even Alabama at some point.
BetMGM Sportsbook is one of three sportsbooks that launched on November 1, 2020 and is the first one going in alphabetical order. While we keep it that way for orderly purposes, the self-proclaimed King of Sportsbooks is indeed at the top of our list. BetMGM has extremely fair odds and a lot more years in the betting business than their competitors in TN. The app is easy to navigate and you can bet with confidence knowing that your personal and financial information are safe and secure.
BetMGM offers a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $500 in Tennessee.
DraftKings Sportsbook is sure to be a known name in Alabama because of the company’s long history in fantasy sports. DraftKings is a sportsbook that offers a lot in terms of prop betting and futures wagering, as well as a lot of different betting markets. DraftKings is the second-most successful operator in the United States since PASPA was overturned and millions upon millions of people have found plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
DraftKings offers up to $1000 in value with a Welcome Bonus split between a Risk-Free Bet and a Deposit Match Bonus.
FanDuel Sportsbook is at the top of the mountain as far as sports betting in the United States is concerned. They are the most popular in book in just about every state they service and have a very professional, clean, easy-on-the-eyes look. The user experience is a big deal and few places, if any, do it better than FanDuel. That isn’t the only reason that they are popular, but with a lot of bettors, they want everything laid out as clearly as possible and FanDuel offers exactly that.
FanDuel also offers up to $500 in value with a Risk-Free Bet upon your first deposit.
Sports Betting in Alabama
We’ll see how things progress in 2021. Despite that really positive report about the upside of gambling in Alabama, we’d still consider legal sports betting to be an underdog in the state for the next few years. Perhaps Georgia will be a catalyst for states like Alabama, South Carolina, and even Florida if the Peach State gets up and running, but that remains to be seen.