An Alabama bill that would allow up to 10 casinos and sports betting is headed to its first test. Here’s what’s been suggested – CDC Gaming reports


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers could cast their first votes next week on sweeping gambling legislation to allow state lotteries, sports betting and casinos in the Deep South state.

If lawmakers approve, the proposal will go before Alabama voters in November’s general election, the first public vote on gambling since the proposed lottery was rejected in 1999. State lawmakers and the public got their first look at the proposal this week.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

What is being suggested?

Legislation introduced in the House this week would create a state lottery, allow sports betting at in-person locations and through online platforms, and allow up to 10 casino locations with table games and slot machines. Lawmakers have two draft laws before them. The first is a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution to allow gambling. The other is a 143-page draft bill that spells out operating details including where casinos will be located and how gambling will be regulated.

What are the expectations?

“It’s 50-50 now,” House Speaker Pro Tempore Chris Pringle said. “We have lost a little and gained a little.” However, Pringle noted that lawmakers are just starting to read the bills in full.

Republican Rep. Andy Witt, who led a group of lawmakers who worked on the legislation, said he expected a committee to hold a public hearing on the bills next week. If the bills pass in committee, they could be voted on on the House floor Thursday, Pringle said.

Supporters will need a mix of Republican and Democratic support to get the votes needed. Members expressed differing opinions after reviewing the legislation.

Republican Rep. Chip Brown of Hollingers Island said he supports the proposal. “We haven’t had voting since 1999. I hear that from my constituents… that they want the ability to vote on games.” Republican Rep. Reed Ingram of Pike Road said he supports the idea of ​​a state lottery but has concerns about allowing a number of casinos across the state.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said Democratic lawmakers are still reviewing the legislation. He said the responses were “mostly very positive” but some members had concerns.

Where will the casinos be located?

The legislation allows up to 10 casinos, including the three bingo operations located in the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery. The new Alabama Gaming Commission will issue licenses for up to seven more casinos off tribal lands.

Four of those licenses will be reserved for locations in Jefferson, Greene, Macon and Mobile counties. Two licenses will be awarded in Lowndes County and Houston County. The final location, contingent on an agreement negotiated with Poarch Creeks, would give the tribe a license to open a casino on non-tribal land in the northeast corner of the state near the Georgia state line.
Where is sports betting allowed?

The legislation would allow sports betting in person at casinos as well as online and through mobile apps. The legislation does not say how many licenses could be issued to offer online sports betting, but said it “must promote a competitive environment.”
How much money will be generated?

The proposal would impose a 24% tax on gaming revenues and a 17% tax on sports betting revenues. An official revenue estimate, prepared by the Legislative Services Agency, is not yet available. Proponents estimate it will generate annual revenues of more than $800 million.

How will the funds be used?

State revenues will largely be directed to two new state trust funds — an education lottery fund and a gaming trust fund to meet other state needs. The legislation lists potential and prohibited uses, but largely leaves it up to lawmakers to decide how to allocate the money each year.

“This way we can focus on our needs year after year,” said Republican Rep. Chris Blackshear, the bill’s sponsor.

The legislation provides for the distribution of lottery revenues among educational needs including college scholarships, two-year technical schools, local school systems and university research programs. Other listed uses of gambling revenue include, but are not limited to, rural health care, roads, bridges, state parks, and health care for low-income persons.

Who will regulate gambling operations?

A new state agency, the Alabama Gaming Commission, will issue licenses for casinos and sports betting operations and regulate gambling operations. It will be overseen by a nine-member committee appointed by the governor or legislative leaders. The agency will have a gaming enforcement division. The Alabama Lottery will be led by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the governor.

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