House Passes Plan to Approve a Lottery, Casinos, and Legal Sports Betting Now Moves to Senate

February 16, 2024 | Legislature

ALABAMA (February 15, 2024) — The legislative effort in Alabama to allow voters to decide on a constitutional amendment for a lottery, casinos, and legal sports betting has progressed positively, moving from the House of Representatives to the state Senate. The bill passed the House with a vote of 70-32, surpassing the required three-fifths majority for a constitutional amendment.

The proposed legislation, similar to plans previously approved by the Senate, aims to establish a lottery, create an Alabama Gaming Commission to license and regulate up to seven casinos, and legalize sports betting. The estimated net revenue generated by this plan is around $900 million for the state.

The revenue distribution outlined in the legislation allocates funds from the lottery to education and funds from casinos and sports betting to non-education programs like healthcare and mental health care. Local governments in counties hosting casinos would also receive a share. The Legislature would annually appropriate the funds within these categories.

Proponents argue that the legislation would replace the current patchwork of gambling laws, creating a uniform system to regulate and tax legal operations while curbing illegal ones. The bill’s supporters emphasize the need for state control over an industry that is currently unregulated and widespread.

House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter expressed confidence in the bill’s prospects, citing the collaboration between the House, Senate, and Governor Kay Ivey’s office in developing the legislation. The bill now awaits consideration in the Senate, where a three-fifths majority, equivalent to 21 votes, is required for it to advance to the November ballot.

Opponents of the bill in the House argued that it could lead to increased gambling addiction and divert dollars from goods and services that contribute to the economy. However, these concerns did not sway the majority in the House.

The bill’s progress marks a shift from previous attempts, with supporters optimistic about its chances in the Senate and potential approval by Alabama voters in the upcoming November elections. The Senate will likely discuss the legislation in the coming week, with the Republican caucus holding a key role in deciding the next steps.


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