Alabama Senate

Last month, the Alabama Senate failed to pass a bill to expand gambling in the state. Normally, this would be the end of such a proposal. However, lawmakers tried again and this time managed to pass a bill that will give citizens the option to legalize expanded gambling.

Expanded gambling is predicted to bring up to 19,000 jobs to the state, along with $700 million in tax revenues. The state will also get some hefty licensing fees to start.

Alabama Senate Passes Gambling Expansion Bill

Last week, the Alabama Senate passed SB 319, a bill to expand legal gambling in the state. A similar proposal was voted on last month but failed to garner the 60% majority needed to pass.. Instead of needing a simple majority as it received, the bill required a 60% vote due to needing a Constitutional amendment.

This time around, SB 319 passed by a margin of 23-9. This allows the bill to move to the state House of Representatives where it will start out in the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. Should the House choose to pass the bill, then citizens will get a chance to vote on the matter in this fall’s general election.

Under the bill, Alabama could open up to six commercial casinos. Also, the Poarch Creek Indian nation will be able to run casinos in the state. Presently, the Poarch Creek Indians operate Class II bingo halls in the state. The bill will allow for compacts with Poarch to offer Class III gambling. This includes slot games and table games like blackjack and baccarat.

Next, the bill will allow for a state lottery and sports betting in the state. The bill does not allow for real money online casinos but does allow for online sports betting.

Licensing Fees Up to $35 Million

Under the bill, there will be nine licenses distributed by a state gaming commission that will be formed. Anyone wishing to operate in Alabama will have to pay a sizable licensing fee ranging from $5 million up to $35 million. The fee will be base on the population of the area where the casino is located. Licenses will be good for ten years.

Sportsbooks will be permitted for all nine licensees. Also, each licensee will be able to partner with up to three sportsbooks. You must be 21 or older to gamble on sports in Alabama.

Last Chance for Expanded Gambling in 2021

Senator Del Marsh was the sponsor of this bill along with Senators Jim McClendon and Garland Gudger. Marsh is working hard to expand gambling this year. He submitted multiple bills for that purpose and SB 319 looks to be the one that lawmakers are running with.

Governor Kay Ivey effectively opened the doors for expanded gambling last year, insisting that a study be done on the impacts of gambling for the state. That study was completed in December. The study shows that the state will get up to $700 million in tax revenues along with 19,000 jobs. Polling done in conjunction with that study shows that two-thirds of citizens support an expansion of gambling.

While things are looking bright for gambling expansion, time is running out. There is about a month left in the current legislative session and the House still has to pass the bill. Should they fail to complete the task, lawmakers will have to start over again next year. It is hard to see lawmakers in the House punt on this bill. With $700 million in revenue and 19,000 jobs on the table, this is the type of bill lawmakers salivate over. It also has tremendous public support, making it an easy win for lawmakers in 2021.

About the Author
James Guill avatar
James Guill

James Guill is a veteran of the gambling media industry. James started his career as a semi-professional poker player, traveling the US to play tournament poker. In 2008, he transitioned to the media side. Since that time, James has worked for many established brands, including PokerNews, OnGame, Bwin, CardPlayer Lifestyle, Poker Junkie, and Ivey Poker. He also wrote for PokerNews Australia and once had his work featured on G4’s Attack of the Show.

James has a wealth of gambling knowledge and can write on most topics. He also keeps an eye on the growing Bitcoin gambling market and is a HODLer of BTC and several top altcoins. Check out James’ Game of the Week feature, covering the latest and greatest online slot games. James is also a part-time picker, traveling around Virginia looking for deals to flip.

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James Guill is a veteran of the gambling media industry. James started his career as a semi-professional poker player, traveling the US to play tournament poker. In 2008, he transitioned to the media side. Since that time, James has worked for many established brands, including PokerNews, OnGame, Bwin, CardPlayer Lifestyle, Poker Junkie, and Ivey Poker. He also wrote for PokerNews Australia and once had his work featured on G4’s Attack of the Show.

James has a wealth of gambling knowledge and can write on most topics. He also keeps an eye on the growing Bitcoin gambling market and is a HODLer of BTC and several top altcoins. Check out James’ Game of the Week feature, covering the latest and greatest online slot games. James is also a part-time picker, traveling around Virginia looking for deals to flip.

READ MORE
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