A proposal to amend the state’s constitution and allow for online lottery and casinos in Alabama was narrowly defeated in the Senate by just 2 votes. It is a huge blow for the state that hoped to join the likes of Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, all of which recently allowed online sportsbooks and iGaming establishments to begin offering online gambling services.
The bill proposed by Republican Senator Del Marsh required 21 votes to pass the 35-member Senate. It fell two votes short with the outcome 19-13.
13 votes against the proposal to expand gambling in the state were from Republicans. Mash, among others, were disappointed with the result, as hopes of gaming reform in the state are likely not going to be revisited until next year.
Currently, Alabama remains one of five states without a state lottery which at the very least was expected. Meanwhile, the US has 5 states that allow online casinos, 6 with online poker sites, and close to 10 that allow online sports betting. Although there have been many attempts to introduce new gambling legislation in Alabama, there has been little success. The clash in opinion seems to stem from conservative opposition to gambling, which was polarized via the media prior to the votes and within the outcome.
There Is Still Hope For Alabama Citizens
In response to the vote, State Governor Kay Ivey reassured the people of Alabama that “more work must be done” to get gambling reform right in the state. The net revenue from the lottery was going to be used to fund scholarships to community colleges and address the workforce needs of the state. Marsh also proposed the casinos pay a 20% tax on gambling activity and that money was to be used to expand internet speeds, support rural health care and mental health care.
Alabama voters last got a chance to vote on a lottery in 1999 where it was rejected. Marsh insists polling indicates voters are ready to reconsider the issue.