Alabama lawmakers seem to be willing to leave some unfinished business, including two gambling bills, for when they return from their spring break next week.
A week ago, Representative Chip Brown unveiled a piece of gambling legislation that received the approval of the fast-track committee only two days later. The proposed bill is seeking a lottery vote to be included in the November ballot. The proposed lottery would be a traditional one, with licensed retailers being permitted to sell tickets for multi-state games, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, instant games, and other games approved by the state’s gambling regulatory body.
The second proposal, which was tabled by Senator Greg Albritton, calls for the establishment of 5 new casinos, 2 satellite casinos, a lottery, a sportsbook and statewide regulation of gambling. The piece of legislation also won quick support from the fast-track committee but has still not been brought to the Senate for a vote. Under the proposed bill, a total of 10 casinos would be allowed in Alabama, including the three electronic bingo casinos that are currently operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Montgomery, Wetumpka and Atmore. The electronic bingo halls that are currently operating in some counties across the state would be shut.
Both legislative proposals face some hurdles on their way, with only 7 meeting days remaining in the current 30-day session. The two proposed legislative measures would have to get the approval of three-fifths of Alabama senators and representatives in order to move forward to local residents for a vote.
Both Gambling Measures Face Some Hurdles in Alabama Legislature
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the two gambling bills made their way through the state legislature but faced another roadblock after receiving the approval of a Senate committee earlier in March.
At the time when they were read in a committee and voted on, some disapproval occurred, with no supporters of the measures during the public commenting period. Some of the two bills’ opponents shared their concerns about the morality of gambling and the possible problem gambling that could follow if a lottery is approved by local voters. The opponents of the proposals also shared some concern regarding the economic impact that the measures could have on local communities by picking winners and losers.
Many local areas and smaller counties’ officials have projected there would be significant financial losses for Alabama customers in case one regulated casino is allowed in smaller and more disadvantaged regions. The author of one of the bills, Senator Greg Albritton, shared that no such consequences are being sought by his bill, so it could only be a side effect of the market.
Senator Albritton also shared that his bill also includes actions of data gathering so local lawmakers can find out who is doing what and how much. According to him, this approach would help them answer a lot of questions, especially before making a final decision of which parts of the proposed bill should be supported and which ones should not remain in place.