Gambling Legislation

Alabama gambling discussion continues this week

Alabama gambling discussion continues this week

Lawmakers could be ready to tackle various gambling bills before the end of April

Alabama gambling legislation has been a controversial topic and is scheduled for another round of deliberation as lawmakers determine the fate of the biggest gambling expansion in the state’s history.

Lawmakers will convene sometime between today and April 26 to consider a bill that would legalize commercial casinos, online sportsbooks, horse racing terminals, and a state lottery. Alabama is one of a few states without any of those legal gambling options, with online casino gaming not included in the current proposal.

In a shift in attitudes, Alabama has recently begun to embrace the idea of legal gambling after nearly two hundred years of resistance. This change is in line with the broader trend across the US. Republican Governor Kay Ivey supports studying the economic impact of gambling, while other party members are also open to exploring new avenues in the gaming industry.

The proposal has been opposed by conservative groups that object to all gambling, including a state lottery. Alabama is one of five states without a lottery, with Mississippi the latest state to legalize lottery games.

The Alabama House passed sweeping legislation to allow online sportsbooks, retail casinos, a lottery, and an expanded compact with the state’s Native tribe, which operates several casinos. The Senate bill only includes a state lottery and renegotiation of the compact.

To become law, gambling legislation requires three-fifths support in both the House and Senate. Gaming expansion must also be approved by a majority of voters in the general election.

In 1999, Alabama residents voted against a state lottery. However, other states have seen success with gambling legislation. Even traditionally conservative states such as South Dakota and Nebraska have legalized gambling.

The current legislative session will wrap up in May.

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