February 24, 2021 Casino, Land-Based, Lottery

Alabama gaming expansion bill vote delayed


Debate and voting for an Alabama senate bill that would add several new casinos and establish a state lottery will be delayed at least two weeks while the bill’s sponsor finalizes the legislation.

The bill would need three-fifths majority in both the senate and house before it could be voted on by Alabamans during the next election.

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, introduced the comprehensive gaming package that would expand Alabama’s casino count by at least five, enable the creation of a state lottery and pressure Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Through Wind Creek Hospitality, the tribe operates three Class II Alabama casinos.

Marsh’s bill would allow for four more casinos at greyhound racetracks and a fifth casino in either Jackson or DeKalb County. The legislation calls for gross gaming revenue to be taxed at 20%.

The bill would need three-fifths majority in both the Senate and House before it could be voted on by Alabamans during the next election.

Marsh told reporters Tuesday he believes he has enough votes in the Senate but wants to tidy up the bill in order to shore up bipartisan support, which would then pressure the House to also pass it.

“So, I think that even though I have 21 votes today, I would rather have 25 votes in two weeks and show a strong bipartisan consensus of the Senate,” Marsh said according to Mike Cason of Advance Local Media. “I think that would play well as it goes to the House because I want a stronger showing in the House, and this is about getting something to the people of Alabama that addresses gaming once and for all and how those revenues are going to be spent to the best of ability of the state to better the lives of the people of Alabama.”

Earlier Tuesday, one of Marsh’s colleagues, Sen. Sam Ghivan, R-Huntsville, told Mobile radio station FM Talk 106.5 he didn’t see a clear three-fifths majority in the senate.

Ghivan, who called the legislation “a bad bill for Alabama” told the station, “I don’t think they’ve got 21 votes.”

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