Albritton urges action on gaming measures in committee

Albritton urges action on gaming measures in committee

Albritton urges action on gaming measures in committee

This week, Sen. Greg Albritton, a Republican from Atmore, called for immediate action on gaming measures in the Alabama Senate. A comprehensive betting package, already authorized by the House, is now up for evaluation by a Senate committee.

The proposed package includes provisions for the sale of lottery tickets, regulated sports wagering, and up to ten casinos with gaming tables and digital slot devices. However, Senate Republicans seek to streamline the proposal, expressing reservations about its scope.

Despite the challenges, the bill received strong bipartisan support in the House, with all Democrats and a significant number of Republicans backing it. Sen. Albritton warned that substantial modifications in the House could jeopardize this support. Sen. Chris Elliott and several Senate Republicans raised concerns about the proposal’s scope, particularly regarding gaming establishments and sports betting. Sen. Elliott emphasized the importance of allowing citizens to vote on the issue through a lottery.

Committee Evaluation and Potential Adjustments:

The Senate Tourism Committee, responsible for evaluating the bill, has not yet scheduled a meeting for the upcoming week. Additional Republican support would be needed to advance the bills out of committee. Sen. Steve Livingston, a member of the Tourism Committee, acknowledged the need for adjustments to the bill if it is to move forward. The Republican Caucus is expected to review the proposal later in the week.

Past Challenges and Future Vote:

Opposition from various gambling interests has hindered previous attempts to pass similar legislation, particularly regarding lotteries. Any changes to gambling laws in Alabama require an amendment to the state constitution, expected to be put to a vote on the November ballot this year. Proponents of sports betting believe that combining it with lottery reform is crucial to gaining support for a more comprehensive gaming plan. However, Albritton cautioned that without adequate funds and regulations, a lottery could inadvertently fuel illicit gaming activities. 

The bill must be adopted by the Senate with a three-fifths majority due to its constitutional implications. House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter expressed optimism about the bill’s potential to combat unregulated and illegal gambling in the state.


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