Alabama State House

  • Senate Bill 319, that would put sports betting, a state lottery, and other gaming on the November 2022 ballot may not get its time in the House on May 17, killing the bill’s chances in 2021.
  • The Alabama Legislature has one final day left in the session, set for May 17.
  • Projections of up to $710 million in annual revenue were estimated to be seen should the measure have passed this year.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama House of Representatives met on Thursday to discuss a gaming bill that would regulate a state lottery, casino gaming, and sports betting. Senate Bill 319 passed in the Senate on April 13, where it then moved to the House on April 15 for its first reading. The second reading was done on May 4, seeing a favorable outcome in the Economic Development and Tourism Committee.

The third and final reading for the measure was supposed to occur on Thursday, sealing the fate for the future of the gaming industry in Alabama but it didn’t happen nor did it happen on Friday.

“It is my opinion that gaming will work in Alabama and it will be worth it,” said Young Boozer, the former Alabama Treasurer, after participating in a study for gambling policies in the state.

However, Friday was not the final day for the Alabama Legislature as they’ve set May 17 as the one and only day left for discussions on bill proposals this year. Senate Bill 319 is not likely to see the floor.

What Does Senate Bill 319 Want For Alabama?

Senate Bill 319 wants to put the subject of gambling on the November 2022 ballot for residents of the Heart of Dixie to vote on the matter. Any gaming expansions in the state require a constitutional amendment by public vote. Casinos, sportsbooks, and a lottery are all up for regulation by the people of Alabama to weigh in on through this measure.

Regulated sports betting would be open in Alabama should the majority of residents vote in favor of it. Proponents argue that with so many great collegiate sports in the state, fans gamble on the games daily. Through regulating the market, consumers will be provided with safeties they currently do not have through their black market wagering, as well as offering a new and highly lucrative revenue stream for Alabama.

There is no definitive framework as it pertains to the gaming industry presently laid out. Retail and mobile sports betting and gaming have been open for discussion and will continue to be should they pass every channel, including a public vote. Up until this point, Senate Bill 319 has had only one goal in mind; getting the subject of gambling to the constituents of Alabama for a vote.

If Alabama voters are in favor of Alabama sports betting come 2022, the launch of all gaming industries approved would likely happen in the last quarter of 2023. Senate Bill 310, which was passed in the Senate on April 13, also has one day left to pass in the House. This proposal names the Alabama Gaming Commission as the regulator of the sports gaming industry and allots its revenue to the Gaming Trust Fund.

There is currently a 20% tax on all revenue from sports betting and casino gaming in Alabama, with the ability to jump 2% every five years until they reach the cap of 30% on all GGR to be collected annually. The Heart of Dixie believes the industry as a whole could bring in nearly one billion dollars each year in revenue through a seasoned market as previous studies have shown.

The Final Decision Is Looming

Alabama’s House of Representatives will meet for their last hearing in 2021 on May 17. Insiders have said that discussions for Senate Bill 319 are doubtful as there is too much conflict between lawmakers in the House of Representatives on the subject for it to receive passage during the last day. Alabama will have to wait until next year to reconsider the possibility of a regulated sports wagering market in the state. Sports bettors in the Heart of Dixie will continue to seek outside outlets and neighboring states to gamble on sporting events until government officials pass a proposal for the industry that both chambers can agree on.

 

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