Alabama lawmakers to vote on gambling expansion bill

The bill would allow a state lottery, casinos and sports betting, and require voter approval

The Alabama Legislature could vote as soon as next week on a bill that would allow a state lottery, casinos and sports betting, and require voter approval in the November general election. The bill, which was unveiled this week, is the result of months of negotiations among lawmakers, the governor, and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who operate three casinos in the state. The bill aims to end the decades-long debate over gambling in Alabama, one of the few states that does not have a lottery.

gambling expansion bill
gambling expansion bill

The bill would create a state lottery, authorize up to 10 casinos, and legalize sports betting

The bill would create a state lottery, authorize up to 10 casinos, and legalize sports betting, with the following provisions:

  • The lottery would be operated by the Alabama Lottery Corporation, a public entity that would be overseen by a nine-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The lottery would sell tickets for instant games and multi-state games, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The lottery would not offer video lottery terminals or online games.
  • The casinos would be licensed by the Alabama Gaming Commission, a seven-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commission would regulate and tax the casinos, and enforce the gambling laws and rules. The casinos would offer table games, slot machines, and sports betting.
  • The casinos would be located at the following sites:
    • The three existing casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery, which would be allowed to offer Class III gaming, such as table games and slot machines, under a compact with the state.
    • The four existing dog tracks in Jefferson, Greene, Macon, and Mobile counties, which would be allowed to offer Class III gaming, as well as pari-mutuel wagering on dog and horse races.
    • Two new sites in Lowndes County and Houston County, which would be awarded through a competitive bidding process, and would be allowed to offer Class III gaming.
  • The sports betting would be offered by the casinos, as well as by online platforms that would be licensed by the commission. The sports betting would allow wagering on professional and collegiate sports, as well as on other events, such as the Olympics and the Oscars.

The bill would generate revenue for the state and local governments, and for various programs and projects

The bill would generate revenue for the state and local governments, and for various programs and projects, with the following allocations:

  • The lottery revenue, after paying the prizes and expenses, would be distributed as follows:
    • 75% to the Education Trust Fund, which supports public education from pre-kindergarten to higher education.
    • 25% to the General Fund, which supports other state services and agencies.
  • The casino revenue, after paying the prizes and expenses, would be taxed at the following rates:
    • 20% for the casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which would be shared between the state and the tribe, according to the compact.
    • 25% for the casinos located at the dog tracks, which would be paid to the state.
    • 27.5% for the casinos located at the new sites, which would be paid to the state.
  • The casino tax revenue would be distributed as follows:
    • 75% to the General Fund, which would be allocated for various purposes, such as Medicaid, mental health, rural health care, broadband expansion, corrections, and economic development.
    • 25% to the local governments where the casinos are located, which would be used for infrastructure, public safety, education, and other needs.
  • The sports betting revenue, after paying the prizes and expenses, would be taxed at 15%, which would be paid to the state. The sports betting tax revenue would be distributed as follows:
    • 50% to the General Fund, which would be allocated for the same purposes as the casino tax revenue.
    • 50% to the Education Trust Fund, which would be used for scholarships and grants for students attending public colleges and universities in Alabama.

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