Will Alabama Have Legal Gambling This year?

The clock is ticking for lawmakers trying to make gambling legal in Alabama. This is because there are only 5 days left in the session which will decide the fate of several bills. Amongst 2 other bills up for consideration is HB151 which is about legalizing gambling in Alabama. However, Alabama lawmakers seem to disagree on a few points in the bill. Thus, Will Alabama Have Legal Gambling this year or will they have to wait until the next session?

Will Alabama Have Legal Gambling This year?The problem lies with lawmakers unable to agree on certain aspect of HB151 regarding legalizing sports betting and casinos. However, according to WVTM 13 News, last week a committee was made to find a compromise on the gambling bill. This committee is made up of 3 senators and 3 House members who are trying to find a middle ground.

The House wants to have a state lottery, legal sports betting and up to 10 casinos with tables. On the other hand, the Senate disagrees on a few items. Specifically, they do not want to legalize sports betting.  In addition, they casinos and casino games to only be available on tribal land. Thus, it would also eliminate the possibility of opening a casino with a Pay Per Head.

Alabama House Speaker, Nathanial Ledbetter, seems to think that the conversation seems to be going well. The main issue revolves around legalizing sports betting and casinos. If successful, it would open the door to Alabama’s first commercial casinos, online sportsbook, lottery and horse racing terminals.

Will Alabama Have Legal Gambling – What You Need to Know about HB151

HB 151 is a bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Blackshear, R-Smiths Station. It was originally made to create a state lottery and state gambling commission. In turn, it would also legalize casino and sports gambling at 7 different locations in Alabama. Furthermore, it would have Governor kay Ivey to negotiate a compact with the Parch Band of Creek Indians.

While it did pass unscathed through the house of representative, it saw several changes when it went thru the Senate. The Senate version of the bill only wants to keep the lottery and the compact negotiation with the local tribes.

The committee only has a few days left to come to an agreement. Otherwise, legal gambling in Alabama will have to wait another year.

Any gambling bill proposal in Alabama must get the approval of three-fifths of lawmakers and a majority of voters. The last time Alabamians took a vote on gambling was in 1999 to legalize a state lottery. At the end, it did not pass.

Current State of Gambling in Alabama

Gambling in Alabama is fairly restrictive since only greyhound racing and horse racing is currently legal. However, before you start looking for how to open a racebook, know that this is not everywhere in Alabama. This is because a local referendum must be made before they are allowed in any county.

As to the other gambling options, at the moment, gambling and casinos are legal on Native American reservations but that is on a county-by-county basis.

Last but not least, Alabama’s State’s constitution prohibits having a state lottery. Therefore, for all practical purposes, it is not easy for gamblers to live in Alabama. However, maybe this year’s legislation will end on a good note for Alabama gambles.

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