Alabama Gambling Legislation Moves to House Vote

Image of someone voting
  • The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved the two-bill package. 
  • There was only one no-vote on both bills. 
  • One bill requires voter approval for gambling to pass into law. 

In a notable shift from its traditional stance, Alabama is witnessing its gambling expansion legislation advance through the committees. Historically resistant to such industry growth, the state appears to embrace change in 2024. A bill that could introduce a lottery, multiple casinos, and legalized sports betting is progressing, with the next step being a review by the entire House of Representatives.

Full House Consideration

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee reviewed the two-bill package this week with voice votes taking place. There was only one voice vote against the measures, and that belonged to Representative Allen Treadaway. 

Representative Allen Treadaway, who cast the sole dissenting vote, has expressed reservations about the proposed legislation and seeks to discuss potential amendments with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Chris Blackshear. The urgency of the matter is evident as the bills are set to be deliberated by the House of Representatives, with discussions potentially commencing as soon as [today’s date]. 

One measure would require voter approval to make a constitutional amendment to allow gambling changes. Voters have not been able to have their say on a state lottery since 1999. At that time, voters said no to a lottery expansion. 

The second measure describes how the industry would take place, providing specifics on lottery gaming, casinos, and sports betting. An Alabama Gaming Commission would be created to provide licensing and regulation to the new industry. 

The state could bring in as much as $900 million in funding from the three industries annually. 

Revenue is Going to Other States 

Many representatives are behind the measure due to money from the state going to other areas with gambling services. Representative Rolanda Hollis of Birmingham stated that many residents travel to the state lines to purchase lottery tickets. 

This is putting money into other states, with most going to help education programs. This essentially means that residents of Alabama are helping to fund the education needs of children in other states. At the same time, the kids in Alabama continue to fall behind due to a lack of resources. 

One issue that may arise is the concerns of Rep. Treadaway. He is concerned that the legislation may open the door for establishments that operate illegal slot machines. Treadaway feels the language in the measure would allow the illegally operating venues to continue offering services without any repercussions. 

We shall see in the coming weeks if the measures can continue moving forward and possibly give voters a chance to decide the fate of a gambling expansion or if the bills will die without any further support. 

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