Monday, September 26, 2022

Slim Chances for State Lottery & Gambling in Alabama in the Near Future

Sports betting aficionados, lottery, and casino players in Alabama were getting ready to pop the champagne in celebration of the approval of a state lottery, casinos, and sports venues by the end of the year. The two separate lottery and casino proposals backed by Sen. Geg Albritton and Rep. Chip Brown were looking mighty fine for sports lovers and gamblers alike. Unfortunately, according to their sponsors, they only have very slim chances of coming out with flying colors at the end of the legislative session.

Time Constraints, the Main Culprit for the Delay?

Republican representative Chip Brown drew a proposal regarding the creation of a state lottery in Alabama. The lottery proceeds would support college students through a series of scholarships that would cover their tuition for two to four years. 

Republican state senator Greg Albritton proposed a bill that would authorize a state lottery, along with a series of sports betting establishments, eight full-service casinos that would provide both table games and slot machines, and a couple of smaller gambling venues each hosting a maximum number of 300 slot machines. The full-service casinos would be hosted by local dog tracks and locations under the ownership of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Brown and Albritton both expressed their disbelief regarding the approval of any of the two bills in the upcoming six days when the current legislative session will come to an end. Time constraints will most likely prevent any of the proposals from moving forward and being fully voted in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Brown believes his bill proposal would have a difficult time going through the House of Representatives and even more issues passing the senators’ vote. Albritton’s bill is yet to receive the vote of the senate.

Bingo and Gambling Operators Still Oppose the Changes

Alabama is one of the five US states that does not currently have a state lottery, together with Alaska, Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii. More than two decades ago, in 1999, state representatives voted against a lottery proposal issued by generator Don Siegelman. 

Ever since any other attempt to open a state lottery or legalize casino gaming has hit a series of brick walls. From conservatives opposing the legalization of gambling in itself to the inability to decide how the lottery proceeds should be allocated, and disagreements concerning who would operate the slot machines, these elements made it impossible for the people of Alabama to enjoy their own lottery games and gaming options.

Fast forward to 2022, a number of operators that currently operate legal electronic bingo games in the state still consider the proposal regarding the eight casinos to be unfair. They are joined by opposing voices from the industry who continue to oppose any trials to regulate the industry. Among them are plenty of gambling operators who would appreciate being handed licenses that would allow them to expand their gaming operations, while strictly opposing any other actions.

How much longer will operators and voters keep showing resistance to the idea of a state lottery and gambling in the state, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: lawmakers do not seem to be willing to give up anytime soon.

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