Lottery and casino legislation will be resubmitted in Alabama’s next legislative session – with the goal of getting the measure to voters in November – but the prospects for the proposal are unclear as Lawmakers face the primaries in the spring.
Republican Senator Greg Albritton of Range has said he plans to introduce a proposed constitutional amendment that would include a state lottery, a deal with the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians and an yet to be determined number of other gambling venues. ‘silver.
“It just has to get off our plate, off the table. We have to face this and waiting another year is not going to help us. It would just be income tossed aside or thrown away, ”Albritton said.
During this year’s regular session, the Alabama Senate approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish a state lottery and allow nine casino sites in the state, but the measure was blocked at the House of Representatives. “My goal is to find a way to get the votes we need,” Albritton said of the ongoing discussions.
However, some members of the Republican leadership doubt the prospects of legislation on gambling. Lawmakers face a primaries in May, resulting in both electoral concerns and time constraints in the 2022 session, a key member said.
“I would be very surprised if it passed in a regular session in an election year,” said Republican Representative Steve Clouse, chairman of the House General Fund Budget Committee. “By the end of March, April 1, people will be anxious to get out of this.”
Robbie McGhee, vice-chairman of the Poarch Band Indian Tribal Council, said lawmakers would give voters the final decision as the measure is expected to be approved in a statewide vote. Albritton said his goal was to get the measure before voters in November.
“I think this is the perfect opportunity to say, ‘I’m going to empower people to make this decision,'” said McGhee.
Gambling legislation in the past has failed due to a mixture of opposition from conservative lawmakers and turf wars over who would get lucrative casino licenses. Owners of dog trails and other electronic bingo operations have argued that Poarch Brooks should not have a monopoly.
The bill passed by the Senate, in addition to allowing tribal-operated casinos, would have given existing dog tracks and electronic bingo operations, such as Greenetrack and VictoryLand dog tracks, an advantage in an attempt to earn the other casino licenses.
We do not know what the bill for the next session would mean for these sites. Albritton said he expected the sites to initially have a provisional license to continue playing.
Albritton said he plans to propose that the gaming revenue be partially used to fund mental health care and facilities. “It seems like a major loophole that we have in our state,” he said.