The proposed gambling bill in Alabama is not expected to pass, as local lawmakers have only one day to give their approval to the piece of legislation that would place a lottery referendum on the upcoming ballot for the state residents to vote on it.
On Friday, Nathaniel Ledbetter, the House Majority Leader, revealed he does not expect the stalled bill seeking the legalization of casino and lottery gambling, or a lottery bill only, to be brought back to life. The ongoing legislative session of the state’s legislators is ending today. According to Mr. Ledbetter, the lawmakers have so much unfinished work to do that the gambling issue would hardly get any of their attention, especially without a finalized agreement in sight.
As explained by the House Majority Leader, Alabama’s Legislature would have to prioritize in order to have as much work done as possible before the closure of the legislative session.
It has been more than twenty years since Alamaba residents have had a chance to vote on a piece of legislation seeking to legalize a lottery since the proposed education lottery of Governor Don Siegelman got turned down in 1999, even though every single year there have been lottery bills proposed by local lawmakers.
House Republicans Proposal to Pass a Lottery-Only Bill Got Rejected
This year, lawmakers decided to try a new approach. Governor Kay Ivey provided her support for a broader package that would have permitted nine casinos to be established in Alabama, would have legalized sports betting and a lottery, and would have provided statewide gambling regulation for the first time in the history of Alabama.
The plan, sponsored by the Republicans, was given the green light in Alabama’s Senate on April 13th. It needed to receive at least three-fifths of positive vote in the House, which basically meant it needed support from the members of the Democratic Party.
The bill was scheduled for a vote in the House on May 6ths, only a day before the 30-day session’s closure. Unfortunately, after hours of negotiation, the two parties were unable to find a compromise on the measure. The Republicans resisted efforts to use casino revenue for expansion of Medicaid, while the members of the Democratic Party opposed the plan that would shut down electronic bingo facilities in Lowndes and Greene counties.
Eventually, the House turned down plans to vote on the proposed piece of legislation. When they saw that things were not going as planned, House Republicans suggested that a lottery-only bill could be passed. However, in the end, the piece of legislation was withdrawn by House Speaker Mac McCutcheon following complaints that the bill was actually rushed and lawmakers had no time to read it and take it into consideration properly.
Even if the proposed lottery-only bill had been passed, the measure would have probably been shelved in the Senate. Such an attempt has already been made over this session by Senatore Jim McClendon but his hill stalled and was eventually replaced with the broader gambling legislation package that included not only a measure to legalize a lottery in Alabama but also the casinos and sports betting.
Even the casino gambling and sports betting provisions were passed after two attempts, after the initial bill fell two votes short on March 9th. The proposed measure was finally passed on April 13th.