Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A detailed view of the Alabama Crimson Tide logo during the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Gambling bills introduced in Alabama

A pair of bills have been introduced in Alabama that would legalize commercial gambling in the state.

Under the state constitution gambling, including lotteries and games of chance, are prohibited in Alabama. Proposed legislation in the two bills would remove that prohibition and effectively legalize five types of gambling, including casino games, a state lottery, sports betting and traditional bingo and raffles.

The bill would authorize casinos in specific areas that have been home to a form of electronic bingo-type entertainment. Those areas include Macon County, Green County, Houston County, Lowndes County, Mobile, and Birmingham.

No more than seven casino licenses would be issued under the proposed legislation. Each license would require a $5 million fee and construction of the casino must start within 12 months of the license being issued. Any casino who acquires a license must pay a 24 percent tax on gaming revenues, and a 17 percent tax on sports betting.

Other noteworthy pieces of the proposed legislation include the creation of an Alabama Gaming Commission and the authorization for gaming compacts to be signed with the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe. The Tribe currently operates three tribal casinos in the state.

Due to Alabama’s lengthy anti-gambling history the passing of gambling expansion in the state is far from a sure thing. The study group that backed and proposed the gambling expansion offered no timeline on when the bills could come the State House for a vote. The closest a gambling bill has come to passing in the state was in 2021 when a comprehensive gambling bill passed thorough the State Senate before it was killed in the House.

Before gambling could be legalized in the state Alabama voters would need to approve an amendment to the state’s constitution.

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