As of February 9, 2024, plans are underway to bring casinos and a state lottery to Alabama. This comes shortly after Gov. Kay Ivey voiced her support to legalize commercial gambling in the state, possibly leading to a state-run lottery and several brick-and-mortar casinos. These casinos may feature traditional games such as slots and table games, potentially including sports betting.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is expected to be a major player in these developments. They may expand their existing properties in Atmore, Montgomery, and Wetumpka, and even build a fourth casino in the northern part of the state. The bill also calls for the creation of a state-run lottery and a nine-person Alabama Gaming Commission.
However, these developments may not be a done deal until residents of Alabama have their say, as the bill will prompt a statewide ballot referendum to amend the Alabama Constitution.
A group of Alabama lawmakers is spearheading this initiative, believing that the state stands to gain a substantial new source of tax revenue. Projections indicate that casino and lottery gambling could potentially bring in over $1 billion annually for Alabama. The bill proposes taxes on casino revenue at 24%, as well as a 17% tax on sportsbook income.
The politicians behind the bill cited a telephone survey in August that found strong support for a gaming referendum among registered voters. Still, the introduction of such a bill isn’t seen as a certainty, as gaming bills have failed to pass for nearly a decade due to religious and moral opposition. Groups like the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) are staunchly opposed to the moral implications of casinos, with the organization’s president stating that casinos exploit communities and lead to numerous societal issues.
If this legislation gains traction, it’ll need to secure a three-fifths supermajority in each legislative chamber to put the referendum on the 2024 November ballot. That means the bill would need 63 votes in the 105-member House of Representatives and 21 votes in the 34-member Senate. So make sure to keep your eye on your odds and keep betting about the outcome. This could be history in the making for Alabama and maybe for gambling as well.