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Alabama Legislators Looking To Expand Gaming

Casinos, Sports Betting, Lottery Could Be Considered

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Wind Creek Casino in AlabamaAlabama legislators may soon be considering more gambling options. As part of the party’s annual Pro-Growth Policy Conference, the state’s Democrats are discussing bringing the issue up in the next legislative session.

Democratic officials outlined a plan to bring in experts from around the country detailing how expanded gaming might benefit state revenue.

“We’re going to talk about proceed revenue sharing, folks from Tennessee, folks from Georgia, vendors that deal with the lottery, so that our members will be able to get a full picture,” House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D) told WSFA-12.

A Look At Alabama Gaming

Currently, Alabama is home to three Wind Creek casino properties in Montgomery, Wetumpka, and Atmore, which are owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The Victoryland Casino, located in Shorter, offers electronic bingo machine play similar to slots, along with simulcast wagering on greyhound and thoroughbred racing. There are also several traditional bingo halls across the state as well.

However, Alabama is one of only five states with no state lottery. There also aren’t any traditional commercial casino facilities or poker rooms. Sports betting also isn’t legal.

Democrats are outlining some plans to change that with casino and sports betting proposals, but it may not be easy. Legislators couldn’t agree on a state lottery in this year’s legislative session. Two proposals never even reached a vote.

Building Support?

At least some legislators are echoing Daniels in regards to the possible revenue gaming could bring the state. The massive payouts in recent Powerball and Mega Millions have only heightened the concern about the dollars the state is leaving on the table when it comes to gambling tax revenue.

Several neighboring and nearby states already offer sports betting and casinos, including Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Tennessee also offers sports betting, but no casinos. All adjacent states also have lotteries.

The next Alabama legislative session begins in March and it will be interesting to see where gaming heads in the state. Both the house and senate are heavily controlled by Republicans, but there may at least be a chance at some bipartisan agreement on the issue to some degree as lawmakers look for ways to keep gambler’s cash in the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey® has at least been open to the issue and created a panel to study the issue in 2020. Others in her party have expressed support as well.

“We have this surrounding us now,” Republican Sen. Greg Albritton recently told WBRC. “I think the population of Alabama wants the opportunity.”