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Alabama Gaming Bill Clears House Hurdle

More Senate Support Needed


Efforts to pass a bill to pass a bill legalizing casinos, sports betting, and a lottery in Alabama cleared a key hurdle last week, with the state house approving the measure in a 70-32 vote.

The approval comes after recent efforts at gaming expansion have failed. Alabama is one of only five states without a state lottery.

The proposal would also allow up to seven casino licenses, each with a $5 million fee and requiring an initial investment of $35 million.

“Finally, at least from the House perspective, we heard you loud and clear from the polling, and we’re giving the citizens the right to decide what they want in the state as it relates to gaming,” Rep. Chris Blackshear®, the bill’s sponsor, said after passage.

Opposition Remains In Senate

Seeing a gaming expansion in the state may not be a foregone conclusion. The issue now moves on to the senate where garnering support may not be as easy.

Sen. Greg Albritton® is pushing the issue on the senate side and said the bill, which would authorize a gaming constitutional amendment, doesn’t yet have the votes to get approved. The bill would need three-fourths of the senators to approve the plan to put the constitutional amendment before the voters.

Republicans control 27 seats of the 35 in the senate and Albritton said he still hoped to change the minds of some members. He believes a majority support the bill, but reaching that three-fourths mark may still require some effort.

“It’ll depend on several factors that I’m trying to get a handle on,” he told the Alabama Reflector.

First the bill will be studied by the Senate Tourism Committee before making its way to the full body. Even if it is passed, the issue then goes to voters to approve or reject the constitutional amendment.

Other states are also considering gambling expansion. Maryland and New York are considering legalizing online gaming, while Hawaii is considering legalizing casinos and online poker.