Alabama lawmakers to push for state lottery

Lawmakers are set to push for a state lottery in Alabama. Credits:
Lawmakers are set to push for a state lottery in Alabama. Credits:

The Alabama Legislature is expected to receive a lottery and gaming bill to be considered in March.

US.- Mark Tuggle, chief of staff for House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, revealed during a meeting last week that he expects a statewide lottery and gaming bill to be presented to the Alabama legislature when it convenes on March 5.

“The speaker is on record as saying a lottery bill won’t come from his office but I fully anticipate a gaming and lottery bill to come up,” said Tuggle and added that he could support a statewide referendum on a lottery if it is well-crafted and defined, The Outlook reported. The last two attempts to bring a lottery to the state failed in 1999 and 2016.

“The rules should be written where the constituents know exactly what they are voting on. The bill two years ago was not written that way,” said Tuggle. The chief of staff added that the best estimates that he has seen are US$200 to US$300 million net. “You don’t pay sales tax on a lottery ticket, so that’s money right off the table. But it’s got to be the right bill and, so far, we haven’t been able to put the right bill together. But it is problematic that so many people drive to Florida and Georgia to buy lottery tickets. You can’t argue that.”

“I have no issue with a voter referendum on gaming,” he said. “But two years ago, the legislature was being asked to change the constitution for gaming and just write the rules later. I voted against that piece of garbage because you’d only be able to game at the four dog tracks. There is a dark side to gaming. It’s a diminishing revenue stream, believe it or not. Talk to the Poarch Creek Indians about that — they’re investing in hotels and cattle. We’ve got to pursue a compact with the Poarch Creek, then pursue gaming. We’re not idiots,” he added.

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