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State Holds Public Hearing on Alabama Gambling Legislation

State Holds Public Hearing on Alabama Gambling Legislation

The Alabama gambling legislation was discussed during a public hearing in the House of Representatives. Also, the Economic Development and Tourism Committee held the hearing on Tuesday at the Alabama State House.

Two bills were presented last week by Republican representatives from Phoenix City and Madison, Reps. Chris Blackshear and Andy Whitt. If a constitutional amendment measure makes it through the legislature, it will be put to the vote in November.

According to a political news forum, Blackshear and Whitt were members of an ad hoc committee that House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) formed to investigate gaming and propose regulations. The bill would establish a new Alabama Gaming Commission that licenses and regulates casinos.

Alabama Gambling Legislation

Birmingham, Mobile, Greene, Houston, Lowndes, and Macon counties would all have their casino bids reviewed by the commission. In four of those places, you will find a greyhound racetrack; in Lowndes and Houston counties, you will find big bingo halls.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians would have to negotiate an agreement with Gov. Kay Ivey if the bill were to pass. In addition to the three casinos now operating on tribal property in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery, the state hopes to establish a fourth in northeast Alabama if it and the tribe can agree. That adds up to a potential ten casinos in all. A state lottery, including instant or scratch-off games and multi-state lotteries, would be overseen by an Alabama Lottery Corporation, which would be established under the Act. In addition, it would supervise casino gaming equipment suppliers.

The proposed legislation would legalize sports betting at land-based casinos, in addition to online and through mobile applications. An enforcement arm would be established inside the Alabama Gaming Commission to ensure gaming rules and regulations compliance. Also, many people want to start a sportsbook in the state.

Proponents of the legislation anticipated a potential increase in state income of $800 million to $1 billion. A reserve fund for the state General Fund, health care, and other non-education uses would be supported by legislation from casinos and sports betting. At the same time, net revenue from the lottery would go toward education, according to the proposal.

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