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.

Alabama Gambling Bill Dies Without Vote as Senate Ends Session on Monday

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background
Alabama lawmakers ended their 2021 legislative session on Monday without making a vote on the Alabama gambling bill.

The session winded down on Monday without the House voting on the Senate-passed lottery and casino bill. House Leaders led by House Speaker Mac McCutcheon did not bring up the Alabama gambling bill for discussion during a busy final legislative day after negotiations fell apart in previous weeks.

Bills passed included the budgets, a bill to allow medical marijuana, and a bill that allows wine to be shipped at your home. The Alabama gambling bill was the only bill the lawmakers could not agree upon.

Said bill sponsor Sen. Jim McClendon:

“I’m quite disappointed. It was a lot of work, but so much for that this session,”

Trying a New Approach

Alabamians have not had the chance to vote on a lottery since rejecting the 1999 Education Lottery of then Gov. Don Siegelman. Lawmakers propose a lottery bill year after year but for two decades, the efforts failed amid turf wars and battles involving casino gambling.

This year, the proponents tried a new approach that was backed by Gov. Kaye Ivey. Aside from The Lottery, the proposed Alabama gambling bill called for nine casinos, sports betting, and state-wide regulation of gambling for the first time.

Could Not Find a Common Ground

The Republican sponsored Alabama gambling bill passed the Senate on April 13th. It needed the support of the minority Democratic caucus to have the chance to get to the required three-fifths vote. It was on the House Calendar for May 6th, the 29th day of the 30-day session. But Republicans and Democrats could not find enough common ground despite hours of heavy negotiations.

Democrats said no the the plan of shutting down electronic bingo facilities in Greene and Lowndes counties and demanded a clearer language that would include jobs and business participation for blacks. Meanwhile, Republicans resisted the idea of using casino revenues to expand Medicaid.

BetMGM Offers Special Sports Bets at Buffalo Wild Wings

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone

BetMGM is offering a unique sports betting experience to customers who are physically present inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in select U.S. states. Using geolocation technology, sports fans can access custom promotions and bets when inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Said BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost:

“Our partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is incredibly innovative and allows BetMGM to redefine how fans enjoy sports. The introduction of geolocation technology to offer bettors a customized experience in a Buffalo Wild Wings location is a great example of what we’re able to activate through this groundbreaking relationship.”

In-Bar Channel

At the same time, Buffalo Wild Wings also announced the launch of an in-bar channel dubbed as OT Odds Powered by BetMGM. The network will air on selected screens in participating sports bars nationwide. The channel will deliver sports betting contents such as live game odds, fantasy sports, and sports betting advice programs. 

In states where mobile sports betting is legal, a new and exclusive feature called Blazin’ Bets is now offered within the BetMGM app. This new promo has curated boosts, bets, and parlays available through a customer’s personal device. 

Picks and Props Upgrade

Buffalo Wild Wings’ free-to-play game Picks and Props, which is available via the company’s mobile app,  also received an upgrade in its design. The new features include a parlay-style gameplay with new BetMGM elements. BetMGM odds can be used to make picks from any state where free-to-play games are legal. Major Prizes are awarded monthly while select winners will be inducted to the newly created BWW Hall of Fame.

BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings entered into a strategic partnership in 2019. The agreement was the first of its kind between a gaming provider and a national sports bar. Since its launch,  there have been over 500,000 users who have played BWW and BetMGM free-to-play games.


Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background

Alabama Gambling Bill Expected to be Debated in Senate This Week

Republican senator Del Marsh expects that the senate will debate on his Alabama gambling bill next week. The discussion is aimed at pushing casino gaming and sports betting before the voters for the first time in 22 years.

The senate debate, which is expected to happen on Tuesday, is the bill’s first major test.

Said Marsh:

“I do believe we will have a bill that will get out of the Senate this week. Then we’ll just work it in the House.”

Establishment of Lottery and Casino Games

The bill, which was filed by Sen. Del Marsh earlier this month, would allow Alabamians to vote on he establishment of a lottery and the expansion of gaming in the state. It proposes the establishment of an education lottery that would generate revenues for scholarships. A gaming trust fund is also to be created to receive gaming funds and commissions and regulate gaming activities within Alabama.

It also seeks to limit gaming to five locations: a new site in Jackson or Dekalb counties, Birmingham Race Course, Victoryland in Shorter, Greenetrack in Eutaw, and Mobile Greyhound Park. The locations would be allowed to conduct “casino-style games” including slot machines and table games. Sports wagering could also be allowed in the five locations, subject to a compact, on land held in trust for the Poarch Bank of Creek Indians.

Sen. Marsh’s Focus on Gambling Bill

Marsh stepped down as president pro tem of the senate to focus on legislation, particularly the Alabama gambling bill. In order for Marsh’s proposal to pass, it needs to be approved by a three-fifths majority of each chamber of the Alabama legislature and then by a majority of voters in a statewide ballot.

Alabama is just one of five states in the U.S. that does not operate a state lottery. Alabamians last voted on gambling in 1999 when they rejected a proposal by then Gov. Don Siegelman. Since then, gambling bills have come up short due to a conservative opposition to gambling and a turf war on which entities could operate casino games or electronic bingo machines.