It started out as an attempt to legalize and establish an Alabama Lottery. Now, it has turned into an expansive gaming package bill. Senate Bill 319 has been gaining steam in the Alabama legislature. The final decision could ultimately be left up to voters in November 2022.
In recent weeks, three amendments have been added to SB 319. This bill now includes language that will legalize sports betting and commercial casino gaming, along with an Alabama Lottery. In legalizing these new forms of gambling, the bill seeks to create the Alabama Gaming Commission to help govern and regulate the new industries.
There are just five states without a state lottery. Alabama is currently one of these states. SB 319 is a bipartisan bill, but past attempts to set up a lottery system in the state have fallen short. Voters have not been in favor of this measure.
The Senate has already approved this bill. It passed it to the House after a 23-9 vote last week. If the House of Representatives also approves this measure before the legislative session ends, then they will place it on the ballot for final approval.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians currently offers casino gambling in the state. This tribe would also be allow for sports betting. They would build new casinos in select counties throughout Alabama.
The package’s approval would permit Alabama to offer both retail and online sports betting. However, launching the industry would not occur until some point in 2023.
Senator Jim McClendon says, “Every time I go back to my district, the message is clear: people want to have the right to vote on a state lottery and gaming.” There are other districts in the state that share in these views. That is why there is hope that the voters will decide the fate of expanded gaming.
Study Shows Huge Revenue Potential
Governor Ivey wanted to gain insight into how much potential revenue would come from an expanded gaming package. The reveal of the totals spoke for themselves. According to the study, the new gaming package’s approval would cause Alabama to expect more than $700 million annually in revenue.
Casino gaming could bring in between $300-400 million in annual revenue. Building new properties increases the likelihood of this projection. The establishment of an Alabama Lottery could bring in between $200-$300 million in revenue each year.
Comparatively, this study did not project much in the way of sports betting revenue. Its total was just $10 million. Alabama could take a few years to get this industry established. Nonetheless, other states have proven the unlimited potential of sports betting.
Sure, lawmakers may use more figures than the ones listed above in their arguments. Ultimately, this doesn’t change how Alabama is a state striving to gain new revenue sources. Don’t ignore the potential profits from SB 319. They would obviously benefit Alabama’s economy and residents.