Legislators In Alabama Propose A Broad Gambling Package That Would Legalize Lotteries And Casinos

Legislators In Alabama Propose A Broad Gambling Package That Would Legalize Lotteries And Casinos

Alabama’s Montgomery (AP) — As some Republicans try to get the issue before voters in November, a group of senators in Alabama released a comprehensive gambling package on Wednesday that could allow a state lottery and ten casinos throughout the conservative Deep South state.

Legislators rejected a plan to authorize a state lottery in 1999, making Alabama one of the few states without one. Furthermore, the state has opposed the establishment of full-fledged casinos with slot machines and table games, unlike Mississippi, a nearby state. According to lawmakers, the plan might bring in more than $800 million for the state each year.

The idea would go to voters for approval if three-fifths of lawmakers accepted it.

Leading a group of lawmakers who worked on the bill was Republican Rep. Andy Whitt, who stated, “We believe that people deserve the right to vote on this issue.”

The gaming bill was one of several contentious bills introduced by lawmakers to begin the legislative session, and it now has the support of Republican governor Kay Ivey. A committee moved forward with legislation that would criminalize returning someone else’s absentee ballot; proponents of the Republican Party stated that they hope to implement this limitation before the presidential election in November.

Legislators received a draft of the gambling measure on Wednesday, and proponents stated that contingent on support, it might be put to a vote in committee and on the House floor as early as next week. The bill’s supporters, who are Republicans, will need to garner support from both a sizable number of Democratic members as well as votes from inside their own ranks.

The bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Chris Blackshear, stated that efforts to secure the 63 votes required to approve it in the Republican-dominated House are “trending in the right direction.”

Before deciding how to vote, a number of members from both parties claimed they needed more time to study the legislation.

The bill’s proponents portrayed it as a way to combat the tiny electronic gambling machines that have appeared in little gaming establishments and convenience stores. With their rotating screens that mimic slot machines, electronic bingo machines have been the target of a protracted legal battle by the authorities to shut them down. There are three locations with the slot machine lookalikes owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who are not subject to state law.

The proposed constitutional amendment would provide sports betting, a state lottery, and seven additional casino locations. It would also give the governor the authority to negotiate a contract with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, allowing the tribe to operate three current locations with casino games. Additionally, the tribe would be able to provide these games at a brand-new casino location in north Alabama, which might draw visitors from Georgia and Tennessee.

The money raised by the lottery would fund educational initiatives including dual enrollment and scholarships for two-year community and technical colleges. Revenue from casinos and sports betting would go into the general fund, and each year lawmakers would decide how best to use it.

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