Lottery, casino legislation advances to Alabama conference committee

April 5, 2024
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This is an attempt to reach an agreement between the Senate and House.

Alabama’s House of Representatives recently rejected a series of Senate changes to statewide gambling and lottery legislation, according to an Associate Press report.

Both chambers continue to disagree on allowing sports betting and casinos to function within Alabama’s borders.

However, representatives have voted to send the current bill to a conference committee. The bill has been stalled since the state Senate made changes to a bill the House passed that would have permitted sports betting, a state lottery and up to 10 casinos with table game access.

Three of the 10 casinos would include the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ three existing bingo operations that are located in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery.

The Senate cut back on the previously passed House plan, removing sports betting from the proposal and prohibiting casinos “outside of tribal land.”

Senator Greg Albritton told the Associated Press he was not confident both chambers could come to a compromise and said that “the optimism is gone.”

Albritton went on to note that some Alabama senators “have taken hardline stances” when it comes to preventing legalized gambling.

However, he said the opportunity to come to an agreement is present.

He commented, “There is plenty of middle ground. There is plenty of opportunity. What we are battling is entrenchment.”

Representative Chris Blackshear, who sponsored the bill in the House, pointed out to other representatives that moving a scaled-back version of the bill forward could mean “leaving the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue on the floor.”

Currently, the state constitution through local amendments allows for electronic bingo but no other forms of gambling.

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