An effort to bring casinos, the lottery and sports betting to the state of Alabama has hit a wall. SB 319 was in the House of Representatives last week, set to be voted on and hopefully pushed forward. The bill had already been approved by the Senate and simply needed a positive vote to head to the November ballot for voters to decide if gambling should expand or not.
Unfortunately, members of the House were not on the same page and after meeting into the late-night hours, no vote ever took place on the measure. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon pulled the bill from consideration, stating that it did not have the votes to move forward.
Bipartisan support is needed for the measure to gain a 60% majority to see the constitutional amendment vote take place. In the days leading up to the vote, the Democrats in the House tried to change the bill. The Dems tried to negotiate with the Republicans to add language in the measure so that a portion of proceeds would go towards Medicaid.
Of course, the two parties were unable to agree. The Republicans created a lottery-only measure as the night wore on, but Democrats said they did not have enough time to review the new bill and it was not voted on either.
Alabamians now have May 17 as the only day remaining in the current legislative session to see lawmakers come to an agreement and move the legislation forward. According to the House Speaker, it is unlikely that the bill will pass. If changes are made in the House, it will have to go back to the Senate, which takes more time.
With the governor’s support, it really looked like this was going to be the time that Alabama would at least be one step forward to offering more gambling options. There is still a possibility that voters might get a say, but right now, it doesn’t look good.