Alabama legislators face decision on gambling expansion

In Alabama almost all gambling games are illegal.
In Alabama almost all gambling games are illegal.

Legislators have recently reviewed an 876-page report on gambling expansion by the state Study Group on Gambling Policy.

US.- Legislators in Alabama are faced with important decisions on gambling after a state report was released reviewing the possible benefits of gambling expansion.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy issued an 876-page report which argues legal gambling could bring up to $700m to the state and create up to 19,000 jobs.

According to the report, lottery alone could bring up to $300m. The legalisation of casinos was estimated at $400m and sports betting at $10m.

In Alabama, almost all gambling games are illegal, with the exception of pari-mutuel facilities. It is one of only five states in the US that does not have a legal lottery.

The report also highlighted how current state affairs on gambling within Alabama waste time and money on political fights, court cases and law enforcement with next to no benefit to the state.

Most recently, two lawsuits were filed by the state of Alabama against three casinos that were approved to proceed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

It concludes with five options and outlines the speculated outcomes of all; maintain status quo, prohibit gambling and provide enforcement, prohibit all gambling except lottery, allow limited gambling and full gaming.

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton commended the report for its comprehensive approach and is hopeful that the issues will advance in the sessions so long as the pandemic does not interrupt progression.

A lottery bill was introduced to the state in March but did not go forward.

Singleton said in a statement: “As we move closer to the session, I think you’re going to start to hear conversations about it and then we’ll look at how we lay it out, how many licenses they give out, where will the casinos be, if in fact they’re going to be in the state.

“And so, all those things are legislative questions that we have to answer. And I think now that this task force has brought back some answers to some questions that we’re ready to tackle those questions.”

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