Alabama Governor Shows Support For Gambling Laws In State Of The State Address

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on February 8, 2024 - Last Updated on February 9, 2024
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Speaks

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey used her annual State of the State address at the Capitol on Feb. 6 to announce she would endorse gambling legislation being advanced in the Alabama House of Representatives. At the time, the legislation wasn’t released to the public.

The legislature considered a bill in 2022 to legalize online sports betting and a state lottery. With increasing interest from legislators and the governor, the final passage would require a ballot measure, allowing Alabamians to vote on whether to approve a lottery in the state.

Alabama is one of five states that do not have a lottery, with the four neighboring states offering the activity. Since there are no commercial casinos, Alabama only has three tribal casinos.

Alabama House Republicans have been working on a gambling bill for this session and came up with the proposed legislation on Feb. 7.

Ivey says current proposal will crack down on illegal gambling

Ivey spoke to lawmakers and other public officials that marked the opening day of the 2024 legislative session. According to a Fox News article, Ivey said:

“I believe the current proposal being contemplated by the Legislature is good for Alabama, and I will be carefully watching it move through the process. It will crack down on illegal gambling, and it will responsibly regulate limited forms of legal gaming, including a statewide lottery. Thank you to House Speaker (Nathaniel Ledbetter) and his leadership team for their hard work on this.”

Ledbetter said he supports legislation to regulate gambling. Support in the Republican caucus is essential as the GOP holds 3/4 of the seats in the House. And his support for gaming legislation could be crucial for such bills developing within his chamber.

Alabamians last voted on a lottery in 1999, rejecting Gov. Don Siegelman‘s proposal. There hasn’t been a statewide vote on gambling since then.

Cracking down on illegal gambling in Alabama has recently been in focus for lawmakers with some calling for the creation of a gaming commission to support more regulations.

Alabama lawmakers involved in gambling talks release details of bills

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Reps. Andy Whitt, Chris Blackshear, Sam Jones, and Sen. Greg Albritton discussed the legislation which could bring $800 million in yearly revenue to the state.

They released details of bills that will be introduced this week, including:

  • Proposals for a state lottery
  • Seven new casinos
  • Sports betting
  • A statewide gambling regulatory commission

If the legislation passes the Legislature, voters will decide if they want to approve the package with a constitutional amendment during the general election in November. According to the Associated Press, Rep. Andy Whitt said: “We believe that people deserve the right to vote on this issue.”

Revenues from the lottery would go toward education, while revenues from the casinos and sports betting would support the state General Fund.

While the new legislation is comprehensive, Alabama online casinos are not included in the bills.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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