Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) waves to fans as he walks off the field during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama gaming expansion lacks votes to pass

Gaming expansion in the state Alabama will have to wait at least one more year after a compromise delivered by a special legislative committee failed to pass through the Alabama Senate.

The gaming expansion bills changed considerably before making it to the floor of the Senate. When the two bills, known as House Bills 151 and 152 were first filed they included the creation of an Alabama Lottery, legalized sports betting in the state, allowing specific types of gaming machine at approved venues in the state, and compact negotiations with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The Alabama House of Representatives passed both bills by votes of 70-32 and 67-31. After passing through the House sports betting legalization was stripped out and rules and laws around gaming machines mostly removed.

A conference committee made up of three Senators and three House delegates delivered a compromise bill that would include the creation of the Alabama lottery, allow electronic gaming machines at pari-mutuel wagering venues, and compacts with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The House again agreed to pass the compromised gaming expansion, but it did not receive the same approval in the Senate. The creation of the lottery would require an amendment to the state constitution which means both chambers need a 60% majority vote for it to pass. In the Senate it failed to reach the required majority by one vote.

It was possible for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to call a special session to continue debate on the gaming expansion, but she declined to do so.

Why would I do that?” Ivey asked. “They cannot come to a consensus among themselves. Why would I spend the time, effort, and money on a special session? Every year, it’s always wait until next year. I think people are tired of waiting.”