A Lottery And Half-Dozen Casinos In Alabama Remain The Focus

  • The Alabama Track Owners Association is building up support for legal gambling in Alabama.
  • In 2021, a legal gambling bill passed the Senate, but died in the House.
  • In 2022, the pattern seems similar - significant support in the senate, but a lukewarm reception in the house.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Track Owners Association is beginning to push hard in the direction of a new Alabama gambling bill.

In the 2021 legislative session, several plans to regulate gambling in the state of Alabama were considered, but none ultimately passed. The constituent parties of the Alabama Track Owners Association want to make sure that does not happen again.

For this reason, they’ve begun airing ads in support of gambling regulation in Alabama.

The ads focus on the potential economic benefits, claiming that up to 12,000 jobs could be created by regulating gambling, along with $700 million in revenue.

It's important to note that the Alabama Track Owners Association is not supporting this bill in a vacuum, of course - they’re looking to get their cut. A proposal that was considered in the 2021 legislative session would have allowed each of the four racetracks to open a casino.

How Likely Is Alabama Legal Gambling?

The bill might not make it through the legislative process, despite some support from the ruling Republican party in the state.

State senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) is a staunch supporter of gambling legalization in Alabama, and will be writing a bill to bring to the floor of the Senate.

“I just believe this is the right thing to do,” Albritton said. “I think Alabama wants it. I think Alabama needs it.”

However, the House Republican caucus did not include gambling legalization as one of its priorities for the year.

The House is where the bill died in 2021. After passing the Senate, and with strong support from Gov. Kay Ivey, division among house Republicans and the Democratic minority walking away from the bill caused it to fail.

That division does not seem to have been tamped down - by not including it as a priority, the House Republican caucus has made it clear that the bill will likely have to go through the senate first. This time, however, the hope is that there can be enough compromises with the House democrats that division among republicans won’t matter.

In 2021, the Democrats dealt the final blow to the bill over concerns about where the money from gambling regulation would go - but they were not opposed to the topic generally.