Alabama Gambling Bill Advances to Senate Conference Committee

An Alabama bill, proposing a significant expansion of gambling activities has been gaining traction recently. The proposal, House Bill 151 (HB 151), has undergone many amendments as the House and Senate lawmakers continue to disagree on key points within the text of the proposal.

Back in February, the House representatives implemented changes to the bill, calling for the authorization of sports betting and casino gambling. Moreover, the changes proposed the establishment of a lottery, while the bill’s text required the Alabama Governor to sign a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

In an unexpected turn of events, the Senate disagreed with the proposed changes, releasing a revised version of the gambling bill. In the Senate version, the lottery was a primary focus, while the provisions for full-scale casino gambling and sports betting were left out.

Now, the latest stop of the gambling bill is a Senate Conference Committee, where it will undergo further consideration. As announced by the Alabama Reflector, members of the Committee include Sen. Greg Albritton, Sen. Garlan Gudger and Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton.

The Proposal Raises Further Disagreements Between Lawmakers

Despite the hiccups, Singleton was optimistic about the future of the gambling bill. He predicted that if the bill ultimately passes and it is up to the Alabama voters, it will receive a green light. β€œI think that if it hits the street, it’ll pass,” explained Singleton.

However, he revealed that the debate between the Senate and House continues, as lawmakers are yet to agree on a date, given that the proposal successfully passes. While the Senate proposed September 10 as a date for a vote for or against the expansion of gambling, the House called to use Election Day in November.

Under HB 151, the state can expand gambling through a constitutional amendment. Regardless if the text of the Senate or House prevails, the state would need to establish a gambling regulator, the Alabama Gaming Commission. This Commission will be tasked with the taxation, licensing and regulation of gambling activities, similar to other US states.

Most of Alabama’s neighboring states already offer sports betting. The activity is available in Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi, with the only state that doesn’t offer it being Georgia, Alabama’s neighbor to the east.