Alabama Sen. Del Marsh is starting the legislative session with the quick introduction of a bill aiming at amending the state constitution and liberalizing gambling and sports betting in the state.
Another Gambling Legalization Push in Alabama
Alabama, one of the last hold-outs against sports betting and casino gaming’s inexorable march, is taking yet another stab at legalizing both. On Tuesday, Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston put forth a proposed bill, outlining a scenario in which the state lottery and five casinos would be allowed to run numerous gambling products, including slots, table games, and sports betting.
According to Marsh, Arizona’s residents are already willing to go back on a 1999 decision to suspend nearly all forms of gambling in the state. The senator said it was the latest data that backed this. Yet, for this to happen, Alabama will need to amend its constitution, which requires a ballot vote.
Should Marsh succeed, however, Alabama should see several casino properties arrive in the state. One would be operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The other four will take place at VictoryLand in Macon County, Birmingham’s racecourse, Greenetrack in Green County, and the Poarch Band-owned Mobile racetrack.
The bill is expected to go through the Senate Tourism Committee today and perhaps arrive for a full floor hearing on Thursday. Sen. Marsh is squandering no precious time, with bills usually defeated early in legislative sessions and needing more time to garner support from fellow lawmakers.
Bidding Its Time
However, Marsh is well-versed in the challenges he can expect and confirmed that a Thursday floor debate is unlikely. Rather, he will wait for all legislators to return from the long break between sessions and catch them up before he brings up the issue.
Yet, the senator feels confident about the bill’s prospect as well as the expected revenue some of the properties can generate. Sen. Marsh expects Alabama to draw customers from both Atlanta and Tennessee thanks to its proximity.
However, other states are already establishing sports betting and gaming frameworks, so Sen. Marsh and the State of Alabama could not rely too heavily on customers from across the state border.
The senator wants to see lottery revenue go into scholarships, backing the state’s education system. As to the actual casino revenue, 75% is earmarked for technology infrastructure under the current proposal. Another 5% will go to local legislation.
A 20% tax would be applied to all casino revenue. For any of that to happen, though, all major legislators will have to agree to have. Rep. John Rogers is also pushing for liberalizing gambling in the state through House Bill 161.