Gambling Bill 1 Step Closer to Being in Voters’ Hands
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Mattie Davis
Alabama is one step closer to getting a letter bill in front of voters for the first time in more than 30 years.
On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate approved a bill proposed by State Sen. Jim McClendon that would allow for lotteries, sports betting and casinos in the state.
In the latter two’s case, casino and sports betting sites would be located in Jefferson County, Mobile County, Macon County, Greene County, Houston County and either Jackson or DeKalb counties, as well as three sites owned by Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 23-9, now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.
“It allows us for the first time, to legalize gaming, to tax it, and to make sure that Alabamians and the state of Alabama get the best benefits from it,” State Sen. Bobby Singleton said.
It’s about time, some Alabamians said Wednesday.
“I think gambling in the state is long overdue,” Tuscaloosa resident Tyler Brown said. “The revenue can go to a lot of positive things. Many people in the state already gamble so the state might as well make a revenue off of it.”
If the bill winds up passed by the House of Representatives, it will be on the ballot in the November 2022 general election.
“I would vote yes because it’s just a harmless way of making money,” Tuscaloosa resident Dekaria Foster said. “Because there’s no harm being done or committed for gambling.”
Earnings from the lottery would be used for college scholarships. Money from the casinos and sports betting would support expanding access to high-speed internet, rural health care, mental health care, and other programs. In December Gov. Kay Ivey released a study that found gambling could earn up to $710 million annually for the state.
“Regardless of what we did here this week or we do next week, it’s going to be upon the people of the state of Alabama to say whether or not they want gaming in their communities,” Singleton said.