Senate Committee Approves Alabama Lottery and Casino Bill

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background
The Alabama Senate Tourism Committee voted in favor of the Lottery and Casino Bill on Wednesday, advancing the legislation to the Senate Floor.

Republican Senator Greg Albritton, the bill’s sponsor, told the committee that it was time for the state to “grab control” of gambling by limiting the number of casino sites. Additionally, Albritton said that his bill would give Alabamians their much-wanted State Lottery.

Eight Full Casinos

The measure aims to authorize a state lottery, 8 full casinos with with slot machines and table games, and two smaller gamblings sites that can accommodate 300 slot machines each. Licenses at the four track locations will be bid competitively although the track owners will be given the chance to come in and make a final bid for the licenses.

Casinos would be located at the four existing dog tracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon, and Mobil counties. One casino at each tribal site of The Poarch Band of Creek Indians would also be built while the 8th full casino is being planned for either DeKalb County or Jackson County. Two smaller gambling sites will also be authorized in Houston and Lowndes counties.

Constitutional Amendment

The proposal would require a constitutional amendment. It must first be approved by three-fifths of lawmakers and then majority of the voters in a state-wide vote before it can take effect. The gambling bill along with a companion legislation that will authorize the creation of a state gaming commission and operating rules, will now go to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama is one of only five states in the U.S.- along with Nevada, Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii, without a state lottery. In 1999, then-Gov. Don Siegelman supported a lottery proposal but was rejected by stat voters. Since then, efforts to create a state lottery and legalize gambling have failed due to a conservative opposition and a dispute on who could operate the legal gambling sites.