Posted on: January 21, 2024, 11:43h.
Last updated on: January 21, 2024, 11:43h.
Alabama legislators are gearing up to introduce a new gaming bill to expand offerings throughout the state. The legislation, which includes provisions for tribal casinos, sports betting, and a state-run lottery, is expected to be tabled next month.
The gaming package will seek to allow the state’s lone federally recognized tribe, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, to expand their gaming facilities in Atmore, Montgomery, and Wetumpka. The legislation could potentially allow the tribe to pursue new brick-and-mortar casinos in Birmingham and several other counties.
Sports Betting, Lottery
Alabama lawmakers supportive of the gaming push also want to authorize in-person and online sports betting and approve a state lottery. Sports betting privileges would be given to the Poarch Creek Indians, with commercial operators also allowed to apply for online licenses through the Alabama Gaming Commission.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) 2020 Study Group on Gambling Policy Report estimated that the stategaming could generate significant annual tax revenue. The study found that such gaming would also create numerous new jobs in the state.
Path to Expansion
Alabama’s elected officials cannot authorize new forms of gaming without voter approval. To pass amendments to the legal framework, a statewide ballot referendum would be required.
A poll conducted in conjunction with Ivey’s gaming study found strong support for establishing a lottery and introducing additional gaming options. Opponents of the legislation claim it would increase illegal gambling, but supporters argue that it would actually reduce illegal gaming through harsher penalties.