SB 293 and SB 294 - were found favorable by the Alabama Senate Tourism Committee. The bills would allow for sports betting as well as a state lottery in AL.

  • A pair of bills proposed by Sen. Greg Albritton – SB 293 and SB 294 – were found favorable by Alabama’s Senate Tourism Committee and now move to the Senate floor.
  • The bills would allow for in-person and mobile sports betting through tribal entities at a 20% tax rate as well as a state-run lottery program, among other measures.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama is one step closer to offering legal sports betting – as well as a state-run lottery – after the Alabama Senate Tourism Committee moved forward on a pair of bills proposed by Senator Greg Albritton.

Pair Of Bills Seek To Regulate Sports Betting, Launch Lotto

The two bills, SB 293 and SB 294 are based on last year’s similar SB 214. That bill failed on the Senate Floor, two votes short of the 21 required to pass.

The pair of bills were voted on during a public hearing Wednesday and passed by the Senate Tourism Committee by a 9 yay – 1 nay vote.

What Would SB 293 And SB 294 Do?

SB 293 – a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution – would be voted on by constituents via referendum if passed by the legislature and signed into action.

The bill would officially regulate legal sports betting in Alabama and calls for up to five wagering licenses to be issued.

SB 293 would also create a state lottery. Alabama is one of just five states that does not offer any sort of state-operated lottery.

Sportsbooks and casinos would face a tax rate of 20% on net gambling revenues. The sportsbooks would be associated with tribal entities and be permitted to offer mobile sports betting, while the lottery would be conducted by Alabama.

Proceeds from the lottery would be diverted towards education expenses.

The second bill of the pair, SB 294, would establish a gaming and lottery commission for the regulatory oversight of gaming activity. In the same vein, SB 294 outlines licensing procedures, definitions, and other regulatory measures.

According to the bills, there would be no more than five licensed wagering facilities in Alabama, with each being located on tribal lands belonging to the Poarch Creek Band of Indians.

The pair of bills also recommend several locations for potential sportsbooks: Greenetrack (located in Greene County), the Birmingham Race Course (in Jefferson County), the Mobile County Greyhound Track (in Mobile County), and Victoryland (in Macon County).

The final location would be located in either DeKalb or Jackson Counties. Satellite venues would be permitted in Houston County and Lowndes County, offering a limited number of gaming options.

Pair Of Bills Are Not Without Opposition

Opponents of the bill say it is an unnecessary expansion to gambling in Alabama and that legal sports betting  only serves to enrich corporations while everyday citizens pay the price. However, Albritton disagreed at the public hearing.

“This is not a gaming expansion… This is a gaming control bill, so that the state exercises its sovereignty over this industry, just like it does the chicken industry,” said Albritton. “Just like it does the construction industry. Just like the banking industry. It exercises a sovereignty and it regulates the operations. It controls the growth in locations and it taxes them.”

Albritton also claimed that the proposals will allow Alabama to take in tax revenues on gambling, something that does not currently happen.

“All the operations are going on now. Nothing comes into the state, whether that be PCI (the Poarch Creeks), whether that be Greene County, whether that be Lowndes County, the state does not receive a penny,” said Albritton.

Other opponents present at the hearing took issue with the fact that sportsbook locations were loosely predetermined, leaving out some notable areas of Alabama.

“I question the rhyme or reason why choices are made for some and not for others… We just ask that we be treated like any other facility or area in Alabama,” said Representative Dexter Grimley.

Another issue that surfaced during the hearing was the potential closure of smaller bingo casinos throughout the state. According to Charles McAlpine, Mayor of Forkland, his town (with about 445 residents, according to the 2020 Census) would lose approximately 33% of their yearly gross revenue as a result of these potential closures.

McAlpine was not the only one to bring up the issue during the hearing – Ryan DeGraffenried Jr, a representative for one of the smaller bingo casinos that faces closure, also spoke about his issues with the proposals.

“It’s our contention this bill is picking winners and losers again,” said DeGraffenried. “We ask this body and the entire legislature to consider letting the market dictate who survives down there.”

During the hearing, Albritton said that he has hopes that the proposals will be up for consideration in the Senate as soon as next week.

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