Proposed Lottery and Casino Expansion Bill Fails in Alabama Senate

On March 9th, the Alabama Senate rejected a proposed piece of legislation under which a state lottery would be established and casino gambling would be officially permitted. The bill was narrowly rejected by lawmakers who put an end to the latest push aimed at expanding the local gambling sector for the first time since 1999.

The bill sponsored by Senator Del Marsh failed to get the 21 votes that were necessary for the Alabama Senate to give the green light to the proposed constitutional amendment, falling 2 votes short of the required number of votes. A total of 19 senators backed the bill, making it impossible for the proposal to proceed further to eventually see a state lottery established, a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to be agreed and a number of casinos set to be established at several locations across the state.

After the rejection of the bill, the main sponsor of the proposed piece of legislation said he was not sure whether the issue was actually “a dead issue”. As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, in 1999 Alabama residents turned down the then-proposed state lottery bill filed by Don Siegelman, who was the Governor of the state at the time.

Several Lottery Bills Failed to Get Alabama Legislature’s Approval over the Years

The latest measure aimed at expanding the gambling sector of the state was backed by the Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey. After the bill failed to pass the vote, the governor said that the result only proved that more work needs to be done on the matter, because the issue was too important not to be done right.

The past two decades have seen several failures of gambling legislation in Alabama. Proposals for gambling expansion have failed due to conservative opposition and the ongoing controversy related to casino games and electronic gambling machines offered in entities.

This legislative session has seen an attempt for the resurrection of the lottery debate, which unfortunately failed to gather enough votes for the proposed constitutional amendment to be made. Previous bills that have been seeking to establish a lottery in the state have failed because of ongoing discussions associated with the larger issue of gambling. That is exactly why Senator Del Marsh shared that, in his opinion, a more comprehensive bill would have the best chance for approval.

Before the vote took place, the sponsor of the bill had expressed confidence that he already had the support of 21 members of the legislature. Unfortunately for him, he did not. Del Marsh eventually explained that one senator faced “peer pressure” to reject gambling as a worthy revenue source for the state of Alabama. A total of 13 members of the legislature voted with a “no”, with some republicans having shared they did not feel comfortable with the idea of giving the green light to casinos in the state.

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