New Gambling Legislation Emerges in Alabama, Short of Casino Gaming

Republican Senator Del Marsh was a driving force behind a recent effort to bring up to 10 casinos and the lottery to the state of Alabama. Unfortunately, the legislation was shot down by the Senate this past week, as the majority voted against the measure. Senator Jim McClendon is not ready to give up though and has introduced legislation this week solely on lottery gaming.

McClendon feels that the lottery option will be the best way to start expanding gambling in Alabama. He has polled people outside the statehouse, and it seems that this is an option that residents are most excited about. Constituents tell the senator that they would like to be able to buy a lottery ticket without having to leave the state.

This is not the first time that the Senator has tried to see the lottery come to life in Alabama. About five years ago, a measure passed in the senate involving the lottery but did not get approved once it was changed by the House.

With the Senator’s plan, a small commission would be set up to oversee lottery operations. Games like the Powerball and Mega Millions would be offered along with the Alabama lottery. McClendon wants to offer the same games that are available in neighboring states.

In this measure, revenues from the lottery would go towards the General Fund and an Education Trust Fund. Budget committees would then decide where the money goes each year.

In Alabama, gambling and lottery measures must include a constitutional amendment. At least three-fifths of senators and representatives must approve a measure before it will be place on the ballot. The recent bill submitted by Marsh was short only two votes from moving forward.

The hard part in Alabama will be getting past strong conservative beliefs. Many lawmakers as well as residents feel that gambling is immoral and do not want to see it offered in the state.

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