Alabama Gambling Bill Ends in the Senate

Mobile, Ala – Legislators from the Alabama Senate have adjourned their last session last May 9th without giving the go-signal for the much lobbied gambling bills.

House Bill 151 and House Bill 152 were the two gambling bills that were passed by the Alabama House by a vote of 72 to 29  and 70 to 29, respectively.

However, the concurred bills failed to make it to the Senate floor. Senator Greg Albritton, Representative of Baldwin County, and who sponsored the bills in the Senate, said he would have voted no on the bills after they passed in the House. The bills needed 21 yes votes to pass, with Albritton’s flip leaving them with 20.

Why Did the Bills Fail in the Senate?

The bills approved by the House would have allowed a lottery, sports betting, and up to 10 casinos in the state. Should the bills have passed, the legislation would have allowed for a state education lottery, electronic games of chance, traditional raffles and traditional paper bingo, while tables, cards, dice and dealers would have still been prohibited.

Moreover, It would also have authorized the Alabama educational lottery to be paper only, while allowing electronic games of chance at seven locations throughout the state. No other locations would have been granted without new legislation being passed in both bodies and voted on by the citizens of the state.

The Senate had other plans: they made some changes on the bills which resulted in a scaled-back version of the bill that kept the lottery but cut out sports betting and changed casino gambling to horse race betting.

The Senate and House worked to create a compromised bill, but Sen. Albritton says there are major reasons he couldn’t support it.

“The compromise completely left out, ignored, sports gaming. Sports gaming is an ever-growing, huge business in Alabama. Much of it is illegal and undercover. We just refuse to regulate it, to control it,” explained Sen. Albritton.

Albritton also disagreed with the plan to expand the 7 casinos that are currently operational into almost full-blown casinos without requiring any new investment or anything else involved in that new expansion.

On top of this, Sen. Albritton claims the scaled-back version of the bill restricted the Poarch Creek Indians from participating in the gambling industry,

“Not only were they cut out from being a participant in this industry on a private basis- but they were restricted from ever being able to enter a compact to be able to find a path to that,” Albritton stated.

What Does This Mean for Online Casinos in Alabama?

Representative Barbara Drummond of Mobile says Alabama missed out on funds that could have improved our state,

“It not only represented and gave people a right to vote, but it also would have provided healthcare for countless poor people in Alabama, a boost for education,” she said. 

Rep. Drummond has remained a long-time advocate for education and is one of those who voted in favor of the bill when it passed through the House.

Despite the setback in the Senate, Sen. Albritton is asking voters to remain hopeful that the bill will pass in the future, noting that the problem’s not going away and that they are getting closer to getting the bills approved.

That said, while Alabama residents can still frequent tribal-operated brick and mortar casinos, online casinos are still prohibited within the Cotton State.

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