Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; A general view of the Rose Bowl game logo at midfield during the Rose Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sports betting, casino removed from Alabama gambling bill

Gambling expansion bills finally made it through the Alabama Senate earlier this month, but it was stripped of sports betting and casino gambling.

Two bills designated HB 151 and HB 152 previously made it through the Alabama House of Assembly and included a state referendum on the legalisation of sports betting and commercial casinos, and the creation of a state lottery.

After heavy amendments by the Senate the bills that passed by a 22-11 vote only included the creation of Alabama Lottery, allowances for tribal compact negotiations, and pari-mutuel wagering. Legalisation of sports betting and commercial casinos was removed.

Under the Senate’s amended bill the Alabama Lottery would be created and the state would no longer be one of five states without a lottery. The Governor would be allowed to enter compact negotiations with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and seven locations in the state would be allowed to offer pari-mutuel betting.

Of course, none of this is guaranteed without the okay from Alabama voters. If either versions of the bill is passed into law, there would be a special election on September 10 where Alabama residents would vote on a constitutional change to allow gambling expansion in the state.

The Senate’s amended version of the bill now goes back to the house for review. If the House agrees to the changes made by the Senate it could send it to Governor Kay Ivey to be signed into law. However, due to the radical amendments that amounted to essentially a gutting of the House bill it is expected that the House will not except the changes.

If the House declines the Senate’s changes the bill would move to a conference committee where House representatives could argue for the inclusion of what had been stripped out of the original bill, including sports betting and commercial casinos.

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