Alabama Senate Rejects the Gambling Bill with 2 Votes Short

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The Alabama Senate failed to pass bills proposed by Sen. Del Marsh that would have legalized various gambling activities in the state.

The Senate Rejects Del Marsh’s Gambling Bill 

Sen. Del Marsh-backed gambling expansion bills came 2 votes short in the Alabama Senate on Tuesday with the vote ending 19-13, two votes short of the 21 necessary to see the motion through. The bill required 21 votes from the 35-strong Senate. Around half of the 27 Republicans in the Senate voted against the amendment.

The legislative package included bills that specify how gambling in the state would work. Marsh had said that the committee could have taken them up this Wednesday, and they could have been up for a vote in the Senate next Tuesday, with small businesses following the bills’ progress up close

The Gambling Bill Could Transform Alabama 

According to Marsh, with this bill, Alabama addresses the issue for the first time, and it is its first real chance of taking control over gambling. Casinos would have paid a 20% tax which would have funded an expansion of high-speed internet in the state.

The bill would have further supported health care, the state’s General Fund, and counties. The lottery revenue would have paid between $200-280 million a year, should the bill had been passed, and it would have been used for education and funding of scholarships.

Marsh reminded that he had tried to involve state residents, who would have ultimately benefited from the successful passage of sports betting legalization. While temporarily defeated, the bill is not out and Marsh will push for it regardless of the recent outcome.

Marsh has been negotiating with Gov. Kay Ivey on the revision of the proposal. Ivey stated that she supports the bill, even though it’s a work in progress. She said that she believed the bill could have transformed the state if done properly.

According to her, the residents of Alabama should have the final say on the matter. The last time Alabamians had the chance to vote on a lottery was in 1999, and according to Marsh, times have changed, and residents would be ready to reconsider.

What were the proposed locations?

The bill included casinos in several counties, including a bingo facility in Houston County.

The rejection of the bill comes just a day after the filing of a lawsuit against Marsh, accusing him of receiving a bribe from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians concerning the gambling bill.

The original bill included 5 casinos and a lottery. Then Marsh agreed to 7 casinos, allowing a gaming commission to choose the location for the additional 2. Yesterday, he proposed the 6th casino to be in Houston County, and the Senate accepted a 7th in Lowndes County.  

The greyhound tracks: the Birmingham Race Course, Greenetrack in Greene County, the Mobile Greyhound Park, and Victoryland in Macon County would have been hosting 4 of the casinos. 

The 5th casino would have been operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and located in DeKalb County or Jackson County. The additional 2 would have been in the White Hall bingo facility in Lowndes County and the Crossing at Big Creek bingo facility in Houston County. 

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