Alabama was one of the many states looking to legalize sports betting in 2021. This was a big surprise to most in the industry. There are very strict gaming laws in the state of Alabama as this is a highly conservative state.
An extensive Alabama gaming bill was introduced earlier this year that included sports betting, a lottery, and casino gaming. The major focus has been on sports betting as that industry has seen massive growth throughout the US.
This bill was always seen as a long shot by most lawmakers in the state of Alabama, but there were some significant discussions that took place. The bill never actually came up for an official vote, and that will likely remain the case as the final legislative session is set for May 17.
Alabama is looking for new revenue sources, something that sports betting and casino gaming would bring to the state. Residents in Alabama would have to approve a new constitutional amendment, but a bill would first have to be agreed upon by both political parties.
Moving forward with the Bill
There were still plenty of details that needed to be included in any final bill, but the parties simply couldn’t agree on the basic language to get this bill moving forward. The healthcare industry was set to receive 40 percent of the revenue from the sports betting and casino industry, and this tactic was used to get some support.
The casino industry would be established at the dog tracks that are already available in Alabama, and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians could also build upon their existing gaming industry. Sports betting could take place at these new casino locations, but it’s unclear if online sports betting would have been offered as well.
Governor Kay Ivey supported this bill as she looked for a way to include this new revenue in her budget proposal. She believes that residents of Alabama are in favor of gaming expansion and called on lawmakers to get this bill passed.
There was also plenty of opposition, including from Donald Trump Jr. of the Republican party. His argument was that this bill was too restrictive, and he wants some of the top gaming companies to have a path into the state. Why not take a look at another similar story, when Louisiana House approved sports betting in the US.
Legislature Says No To Lottery
After it became clear that sports betting would not pass this year, lawmakers in the state still attempted to get a state lottery in place. There are just five states in the US without a lottery at this time, and Alabama is on that list.
The Republican party has been adamant that the voters in the state should determine if a state-wide lottery should be established. It was the Republicans that introduced a lottery-only bill late in the session, and the Democrat party was none too pleased with this attempt.
This bill was not expected to pass, and voters in the state will not have a say in this matter. This is the first time since 1999 that there was an attempt to institute a statewide lottery, and the measure was rejected at that time.