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Alabama Governor Wants Voter Approval For Expanded Gambling Before Signing Compact With Tribe

Gov. Kay Ivey Is Following The Recommendations From The Study Group She Tasked With Finding Effects Of Gambling On The State

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With recent comments made by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, it doesn’t look like expanded gambling would come to her state until at least 2023.

Ivey told reporters that she would not enter into a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians until after voters approved the idea at the ballot box, according to a report from the Montgomery Advertiser.

At the start of 2020, after a big push by the tribe to enter into a gaming compact with the state, Ivey said that she wouldn’t even consider the idea until after a study had been completed to show the effects of what casino gambling would do to the state.

The study she requested was finished in mid-December and said that it would bring $700 million in annual tax revenue to state coffers, along with 19,000 jobs. Aside from the numbers, the report also recommended that voters approve the measures before the government moves forward.

The state constitution bans lotteries and most forms of gambling, which is why the study made the recommendation.

Sen. Del Marsh, a Republican, told reporters Tuesday that he planned on filing legislation that would propose gambling expansion. By the time bills make its way through the legislature and is signed by the governor, it wouldn’t be until November 2022 that the citizens get to make the final say.

“Voters have to approve to expand gambling before we can do a compact,” said Ivey to a handful of media outlets on Wednesday.

Alabama is currently one of the few states without gambling of any real significance. There is no state lottery and the handful of tribal casinos within the borders, including the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, are only approved for Class II Gaming, which is functionally just an electronic bingo hall.

A compact would allow the tribe to offer Class III gaming, which would include traditional casino gaming such as table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as slot machines.