The gambling climate in Alabama may be on the brink of a change, as the state’s greyhound tracks are joining the movement that supports the legalization of casinos, sports betting and lottery games in the state.
The Alabama Track Owners Association (ATOA), set up by Greenetrack Bingo & Racing, Mobile Greyhound Park, VictoryLand and the Birmingham Race Course, urges people in the state to support the changes by calling their legislators and saying yes to the potential constitutional amendment that will allow the gambling industry to expand.
ATOA Hits the Streets
After a good start of the year, where progress was made on the casino bill, the ATOA summarized its message in a press release on September 1. In it, the group asserted that the state of Alabama is losing millions of dollars to Mississippi in lottery and gaming revenue. Portions of the potential revenue also go to Tennessee, Florida and Georgia.
This is an ongoing problem that has been taking a toll for a few years due to the fact that the State Legislature of Alabama still hasn’t drafted a plan on lottery and gaming that will allow the residents to vote on this amendment. A short video ad providing a phone number that people can use to call their legislators (855-426-4641) was set up by the Association. After callers enter their zip code, they will be transferred to their representative of the State House office.
In the press release, it was also stated that if Alabama votes on the changes and approves the plans on comprehensive gaming and lottery, it would be able to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The money would be used to fund college and trade school scholarships, healthcare, broadband, workforce development, new business opportunities and open many new jobs.
One constitutional amendment that was supposed to set the foundation of how lottery, casino gaming and sports betting were regulated in Alabama died in May after the state’s Legislature adjourned without addressing it.
The Next Session Will Take Place in 2022
If a gambling expansion were to take place in Alabama, a constitutional amendment that is approved by the Legislature would be required. This amendment would have to be voted by the residents. However, the next session of the Legislature is scheduled to begin on January 11, 2022, which means there won’t be a quick decision made. Ever since the lottery plan of 1999 by Gov. Don Siegelman was rejected by the public, the voters in Alabama have been silent on the gambling expansion.
According to track owners, the total sum that Alabama loses in annual tax revenue is around $700 million due to the fact that casino gaming, lotteries, and sports betting are not legal. Moreover, according to the Legislative Services Agency, the legislation that was proposed earlier this year was approved, Alabama would’ve received somewhere between $500 million and $700 million annually.