A recently introduced bill proposing gambling expansion in Alabama may be up for a vote this week by the Senate. The bill, put forward by Republican Senator Del Marsh seeks to establish a state lottery and legalize casino gambling.
Gambling Expansion in Alabama Gets Another Push
Currently, Alabama is one out of five U.S. states that don’t have a state lottery. Furthermore, casino gambling is yet to be legalized in the state. However, this may soon change thanks to a bill introduced by Republican Senator Del Marsh. The bill, which may be up for a vote by the Senate, would then seek approval by the majority of each chamber of the House. Consequently, it would be up to the Alabama residents to vote on the bill as well.
The last time that residents of Alabama voted on gambling was back in 1999. Back then, Governor Don Siegelman introduced a proposal for lottery legalization which was defeated. Bills on gambling legalization have also not made it any further.
Speaking for the Associated Press, Senator Marsh revealed that he is confident that the bill will be voted in the Senate, possibly this week. According to him, once this happens, the state’s legislature would then just have to work on the bill in the House.
What Would the Gambling Expansion Include?
The draft of the bill proposes the legalization of casino gambling in Alabama. The activity would be regulated by the state’s Lottery, which would allow the creation of eight or more casinos. The proposal calls for the creation of four casinos within existing dog tracks. Those venues would offer sports betting, slot machines, and table games.
Furthermore, the bill proposes a fifth venue to be established by the federally recognized Poarch Band of Creek Indians. According to the bill, the state’s legislature is to additionally negotiate compacts with the Tribe for three other venues. Although the exact number of casino venues is not decided yet, according to Marsh, this may be determined by a vote.
Tax Revenue to Fund Alabama’s Education System
To legalize lottery and casino gambling, Alabama would need a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment may be voted on the November ballot this year. This is if the proposed bill passes the Senate and the House vote. One of the reasons why Senator Marsh pushes forward the gambling legalization is to fund the state’s education system. The current proposal calls for a 20% tax on all casino gambling revenue.
The Senator is confident that the bill can raise revenue by drawing customers from nearby Atlanta and Tennessee. The current proposal seeks to fund scholarships from the lottery revenue. On the other hand, 75% of the casino revenue would go to infrastructure. The state’s legislation would receive 5% of the casino revenue.
With that in mind, Senator Marsh is not the only one pushing for gambling expansion in the state. House Bill 161, introduced by Representative John Rogers also seeks to expand gambling in Alabama.