Sports betting, a state lottery, and casinos might become legal in Alabama after the voters decide upon the approval of the gambling legislation in the state, which is expected to be done this week.
The proposal is the first attempt at gambling legalization since 1999 when the legalization of lottery was rejected. If the legislation passes the lawmakers, the state’s residents will be able to vote about the matter in the general election, which will be held in November.
The advocates hope that the legislation will help in establishing a state lottery, as well as both offline and online sports betting. Also, it is planned to open up to ten new casinos where table games and slot machines would be available.
According to the legislation, which was filed in the House of Representatives, two more bills await; one will be submitted to the Alabama Constitution and will be the key one to legalize gambling in the state, and another that will cover all the details about casino operations and location.
Andy Whitt, a Republican Representative and a leader of the group that created the legislation, expects the committee to decide this week, and if approved, to be voted in the House. In order to succeed, the advocates will need support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Three out of ten casinos will be placed on the tribal land: at the already existing bingo operations owned by Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery. Six casinos will be placed in Jefferson, Greene, Mobile, Macon, Lowndes, and Houston counties. The final, tenth license would be issued to Poarch Creeks so they can build a casino on non-tribal land.
Benefits for the state:
According to the proposal, the taxes would be set at 24% on gaming revenue and 17% on revenue generated from sports betting. Official revenue expectations are still unknown, but supporters believe that the state would earn more than $800 million annually.
As Associated Press reports, the state would use revenue to invest in two new funds: a Lottery for Education Fund and a Gaming Trust Fund. Every year, the legislators would be able to decide how to use these funds.
When it comes to supporting education, the funds would be used to support scholarships for two-year college and technical schools, as well as local schools and various research programs at universities. Apart from that, the money would be used for rural health care programs as well as for people with low income, roads, bridges, and state parks.
The gambling operations in the state would be regulated by the Alabama Gaming Commission, a new agency that would be in charge of issuing the licenses and regulating all gambling operations. The commission of nine members would be in charge of the body, and it will also feature a Gaming Enforcement Division. A board of seven members will oversee the Alabama Lottery Corporation.