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Alabama House to vote on casino, lottery proposal
A gambling proposal to authorize a lottery, sports betting, and multiple casinos across Alabama was swiftly advanced by a legislative committee on Wednesday.
The Alabama House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved the two-bill package, putting the proposal in line for a key vote Thursday in the state House of Representatives. If approved by the state Legislature, the proposal would go before Alabama voters in the November general election, the first public vote on gambling since a proposed lottery was rejected in 1999.
“In my opinion, this is the best piece of legislation put forward in a very long time to give the people the right to vote on if this is something they want in Alabama,” bill sponsor Rep. Chris Blackshear said after the committee vote.
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The sweeping proposal would authorize up to 10 casino sites — including the three tribal sites operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians — with table games and slot machines, a state lottery, and allow sports betting at in-person locations and through online platforms. Republican Rep. Andy Whitt, who helped develop the proposal, said the bills will be voted on in the House Thursday.
Republican legislative leaders have named the bills as a priority for the session, and they have been on the legislative fast track. The first floor vote on the bills could come one week after they were introduced last Thursday. The committee, which held a public hearing Tuesday, approved the bills after about 30 minutes of debate.
Republican Rep. Allen Treadaway, of Morris, cast the only audible no vote in the House committee. Treadaway, a retired assistant police chief in Birmingham, said he is concerned about enforcement and if the legislation favors certain operators to win casino licenses instead of using a true bid process.
A gambling proposal to au[…]
Alabama lawmakers propose bill to introduce state lottery, 10 casinos
A group of Alabama lawmakers unveiled a sweeping gambling bill Wednesday that could authorize a state lottery and 10 casinos across the conservative Deep South state as some Republicans look to get the question before voters in November.
Alabama is one of few states without a state lottery, after lawmakers in 1999 rejected a proposal to allow one. And unlike neighboring Mississippi, the state has been resistant to full-fledged casinos with table games and slot machines. Lawmakers estimate the proposal could provide more than $800 million in annual revenue to the state.
If approved by three-fifths of lawmakers, the proposal would be put on the ballot for voters to decide.
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“We believe that people deserve the right to vote on this issue,” said Republican Rep. Andy Whitt, who led a group of legislators who worked on the bill.
The gambling bill, now backed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, was among several controversial measures put forward by lawmakers to kick off the legislative session. A committee advanced legislation that would make it a crime to return another person’s absentee ballot, a restriction Republican supporters said they want to enact before the November presidential election.
A draft of the gambling legislation was distributed to lawmakers Wednesday and supporters said the bill could be up for a vote in committee and on the House floor as soon as next week, depending upon support. Republican backers of the bill will need to whip votes from within their ranks and also win the votes of a substantial number of Democratic lawmakers.
A group of Alabama lawmak[…]
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