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The 2024 legislative session in Alabama has been adjourned with the Senate failing to sign off on the proposed gambling and lottery bills, again. Earlier in the session, members of the upper legislative chamber came very close to passing a lottery measure but were denied by a single vote. This now marks 25 consecutive years of an impasse on gambling-related bills.

Alabama’s last decisive action on gambling legislation came as far back as 1999 when voters rejected a lottery proposal put forward by the then-governor, Don Siegelman. Since then, negotiations on the subject have failed at different stages of the legislative process every year. Now, with the Senate failing to decide on the bill, Alabama residents will have to wait at least another year to enjoy legal gambling and lottery in the state.

Governor Kay Ivey Expresses Disappointment in Continued Deadlock

Kay Ivey, the Governor of Alabama held no words back when sharing her displeasure with the outcome of the Senate’s treatment of the gambling bills.

“I wanted people to have a chance to vote on the issue,” Ivey told reporters.

When asked if she would be willing to call a Special Session for the resolution of the measures, the governor highlighted that such a step would be pointless unless the lawmakers reach an agreement.

The governor was not the only person disappointed at the outcome, as several members of the House also vented to reporters following the end of the legislative session. Earlier in the session, the House voted on an all-inclusive bill that would have legalized sports betting, a lottery, and about ten retail casinos in the state.

However, the bills, HB 151 and 152, were tweaked at the Senate during its first presentation. The six-member Committee Conference which scaled down the bill removed all sports betting components in them. The newer version of HB 151, which passed with a 72-29 vote, provided for the Alabama Education Lottery and proposed the establishment of “electronic games of chance” to be taxed at 20%-28%. On the other hand, HB 152 set the framework for the creation of the Alabama Lottery Corporation and the Alabama Gambling Commission. It set far-reaching structures in place for up to seven gambling locations that will house electronic games.

“I’m proud that the House and Senate conferees were successful in finding a compromise on this very important issue. The legislation passed in the House today cracks down on illegal gambling by implementing strong, clear, and enforceable laws,” Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said after the House passed the tweaked bills.

“It ensures all lottery proceeds, which are projected to exceed $300 million annually, benefit education and education only. Most importantly, it allows the people of Alabama to vote on this issue for the first time in 25 years.”

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, April 30, the Senate voted 20-15, failing to meet the 21 votes required to pass the bill. Despite promises to revisit before the close of the session, the bill remained untouched until the session eventually ended.

Supporters Decry Alabamians Sponsoring Education in Other States Through Lottery Tickets

The Alabama legislature will be facing immense pressure ahead of its next legislative session. Eyewitnesses stated that after the Senate’s vote, the lawmakers got into a heated debate, eventually leading them to carry the bill over.

Considering how things have now ended, it is predicted that now, more than any other time in the last 25 years, the Alabama Senate will be more poised to give in to external goading. House members are also becoming more vocal in their criticisms of lawmakers in the Senate.

Rep. Chris Blackshear, a Republican house member and sponsor of the bill noted that had the measure been approved, it would have allowed more funding for education and infrastructure. Another lawmaker, Rep. Drummond decried the back-and-forth on the bill and how Alabamians are buying lottery tickets in other states to fund their education.

In its defense, the Senate stated that it was willing to approve a lottery and allow horse races, but was unable to secure the needed vote with measures that included casino games.

Madison King

Madison is a seasoned casino reviewer with over 4 years of experience in online gaming. She has a passion for exploring and evaluating the latest casino games and apps, providing readers with in-depth and honest reviews. Her expertise helps players make informed decisions about their gaming choices.

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