Alabama HOR Sends Lottery & Casino Legislation Bill to Conference Committee

Montgomery – The Alabama House of Representatives voted to send the bill that wanted changes to lottery and gambling legislation to a conference committee after the former and the Senate did not come to a resolution in allowing sports betting and the establishment of casinos in their state.

Local reports state that the stalling of the bill is the first legislative action since the Alabama Senate scaled back a sweeping House-passed plan that would have allowed a lottery, sports betting and up to 10 casinos with table games. The Senate version of the bill would not allow sport betting and would not allow casinos outside of tribal land.

Senator Greg Albritton, who handled the bill in the Senate, stated, “the optimism is gone,” when asked whether or not there is any hope of reaching a compromise. Senator Albritton noted that some senators have taken hardline stances against sports betting or allowing casinos. However, Senator Albritton also mentioned that looking for the middle ground is paramount, since entrenchment is their current adversary in making progress with the bill.

Rep. Chris Blackshear, the House sponsor of the bill, had a similar sentiment about finding the middle ground,
“I think we’ve got to identify what that middle ground is first because it’s such a distance between the two. They’re not even close bookends. So we’ve got to first off establish what that middle ground looks like and then have those conversations,”

Blackshear told representatives that he believed the Senate was leaving the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue “on the floor” with the scaled-back bill. Blackshear also followed up by stating that he is hopeful that lawmakers can reach an agreement, while acknowledging there is a vast difference between what the two chambers approved.

House Version vis-a-vis Senate Version of the Bill

House members had approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow a state lottery, sports-betting at in-person sites and online platforms, and up to 10 casino sites with table games and slot machines back in February 15. 

Meanwhile, the Senate’s version would allow a state lottery, electronic wagering machines at dog tracks and several other locations and require the governor to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

A compact could pave the way for the tribe to have full-fledged casinos with table games at its three sites in the state. However, the Senate’s version also eliminated sports betting and reduced the number of potential casino sites. 

The House version of the plan called for the proposal to go on the ballot for voters in November, while the Senate version changed that to a special election in September.

The difference between the House and Senate versions of the Bill has led to its current situation. At the House level, any gambling proposal would have to be approved by both three-fifths of lawmakers and a majority of voters. Alabamians have not voted on gambling since a proposed lottery was rejected in 1999.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives have until the legislative session after this Thursday to reach an agreement and to pass the bills.

Are there any Online Casinos in Alabama?

While some states in the USA have laws that make online casinos legal, other states have not yet been open to such discussions. One such state is Alabama. It is one of the states in the USA that still has yet to legalize online casinos.

There have been efforts from the local lawmakers to initiate the steps into having online casinos in Alabama by introducing bills over the past decades. But given the state’s stringent laws about gambling, the prospect of having local online casinos becoming available for its residents is still a steep hill to overcome.

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Are there alternatives for Alabama residents for online gambling?

Locally, residents who want to gamble turn to daily fantasy sports apps and horse race betting sites. The state does have tribal casinos, but they only offer video bingo machines. 

For those who wish to experience online casinos, they can turn to offshore online casino operators. This includes operators who provide an assortment of online casino games like online slot games, classic card games like blackjack and baccarat, and even table games like roulette and live dealer games. These serve as an alternative to the limited options available for residents.

Reputable online casino operators also provide various bonuses and promotions for players who register to the online casinos. Doing so enables them to get the most of their bets and to potentially win big payouts during their online casino gaming sessions.

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