Alabama House Republican Caucus meets to discuss reining in illegal gambling

January 11, 2024
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Some say expanding the legal market could be the answer.

Alabama lawmakers recently met to discuss the impact illegal gambling has had throughout the state, according to a local report in the Alabama Daily News.

The study began last year by a group of Alabama House members. The group is scheduled to present its findings to lawmakers during a legislative session on February 6.

During the session, legislators will also discuss suggestions for a bill that could potentially fix some of the issues caused by illegal gambling.

As of now, no bills have been presented. However, that has not halted the conversation.

Representative Andy Whitt shared his thoughts with local news and explained why he believes it is time for lawmakers to acknowledge the problem and get involved.

He described the Alabama illegal gaming market as the “Wild West” and said he hoped “fellow legislators will recognize this massive problem and finally tackle the issue.”

He commented, “For decades, all forms of illegal gaming have flourished in Alabama. Simply doing nothing is no longer an option.”

One possible solution for the state would be to expand the legal and regulated market to include the sale of interstate lottery tickets. A constitutional amendment would be necessary to expand gambling statewide, a topic that could make the next ballot should lawmakers decide to pass a bill during the upcoming session.

However, some lawmakers said the state should tread carefully should it pursue this course of action.

House Speaker Pro Tem Chris Pringle told local news that the legislation would need to get the gambling and lottery bill right the first time to avoid complications later.

He said, “We can’t legalize it and then come back and fix it. You have to have the leash on that beast before you let it out of the cage, otherwise you’ll never get it back.”


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