- Alabama’s lawmakers seem to have ground their potential online gambling bill into the ground.
- Disagreements over how licenses were determined and where the money was set to go may have torpedoed SB 319.
- The replacement bill, which would only legalize lottery gameplay, was too little too late, it seems.
LAS VEGAS - Alabama, which seemed like a likely candidate for a casino and lottery expansion bill, might have to wait a bit longer before this becomes a reality.
Clashes between lawmakers in the Alabama State House Of Representatives lead to the bill being pulled from consideration.
SB 319 made it through the State Senate, but the Republican controlled State House did not get a chance to vote on the bill, as they did not think they had enough votes, so they didn’t even bring it up.
There is only one more day in the Alabama legislative session to get a bill passed, and that will be May 17.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon described the chances of getting a bill through in that one day as “difficult.”
The original plan for Alabama’s bill was to legalize all sorts of online gambling, from casinos and sportsbooks to lottery gameplay. After that failed, McCutcheon and other Republican lawmakers began looking at a bill to approve only lottery games in the current legislative session.
This bill received bipartisan pushback. Democrats didn’t like that they were excluded from the conversation around the new lottery bill, and some Republicans decried the process that effectively asked them to vote on a bill that they had not read.
All in all, the conclusion to draw here is not that Alabama’s lawmakers were unable to approve of gambling, but that they got bogged down in the details - who gets what, where the money goes, and what level of competition in the industry there should be.
These are important details, to be sure - getting these things right the first time is a very important aspect of gambling regulation.
That said, some may wonder why the process was this difficult, and why voters in Alabama, once again, are likely to be unable to even vote to approve casino gambling, sports betting, or lottery gameplay.