New Calls for a 2024 Alabama Gambling Vote Will Likely Go Unanswered

A 50-year state administrator has called on Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to flip one senate vote, schedule a special session, and put Alabama gambling back on track in 2024.

David Bronner oversees the office responsible for making retirement payments to about 100,000 former Alabama employees. He made his comments to Alexander Willis of the Alabama Daily News following the June 12 Employees Retirement Board of Control meeting.

Bronner thinks gambling revenue might be an answer as he tries to fund a cost-of-living increase for Alabama retirees. The administrator also has to account for 1,400 new enrollees whose retirement payments were approved at the June 12 meeting.

Bronner didn’t want to go beyond his post-meeting comments when contacted through his office on June 13, but he told Willis the state needs a new source of revenue if it wants retiree raises to keep pace with the cost of living.

“That’s why you needed gaming,” he told the reporter.

Bronner outlined his position in more detail in the June 2024 edition of The Advisor, the Retirement Systems of Alabama monthly newsletter.

“After the one-vote loss in the Senate, the most popular Alabama governor in my lifetime was asked about a special session, to which she replied, ‘Why would I do that?’ Simply put, because you can accomplish it. This needed revenue improvement is ‘no step too high for a high stepper!’”

The gambling bill passed in the Alabama House 72-29, but it needed 60% support in both chambers. That didn’t happen when the measure fell with just 20-15 support in the Alabama Senate.

Governor Supports an Alabama Gambling Vote

For her part, Governor Ivey told reporters that her position has not changed.

“It’s time for the voters of Alabama to have their say,” she said in a May 1 media scrum. “The legislators have had their say all along. Now it’s time for the Alabama voters to vote and let’s get this done.”

The 2024 Alabama legislative session came to a close on May 9, however. As Bronner noted, the governor’s support for a gambling vote isn’t synonymous with support for a special session.

Time is running out to get the issue on the Aug. 20 ballot. Plus, any special session doesn’t guarantee an anti-gambling senator would have a change of heart. At the same time, Ivey also would need assurance that all of the pro-betting senators would remain faithful to their end-of-session votes.

Gambling Proposal Didn’t Include Sports Betting

Online sports betting wasn’t a part of the failed 2024 gambling proposal, but it would have added other gaming options.

Alabama is one of just five states that does not offer lotto games like Powerball and Mega Millions. A successful vote on the August ballot would have changed that for Alabama residents.

Voters also would have considered electronic games of chance at seven locations around the state.

  • The greyhound racetracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon, and Mobile counties haven’t hosted live dog racing since 2020. The venues would have added video poker and electronic slot machine games next to the off-track betting kiosks.
  • Bingo halls in Greene, Houston, and Lowden Counties also would have added electronic gaming with a successful vote.

In addition, a “yes” vote would have directed Ivey to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Ivey’s Communications Director, Gina Maiola, told Gaming Today in a June 13 email:

“Governor Ivey has been on the record for years, saying the people of Alabama deserve to have their say on gaming. In fact, she commissioned a study group in 2020 to help the Legislature and the voters make the best decision with all the facts.”

Maiola continued: “Since then, Governor Ivey has been engaged in every legislative effort and even supported multiple attempts this past session. While she remains supportive of legislation to address gambling in Alabama, she has made it clear that she has no plans to call a special session at this time.”

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About the Author
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell

Lead Writer
Russ Mitchell joined Gaming Today as a lead writer in February 2023 after joining Catena Media in 2021 as a managing editor for the PlayIA and PlayVA brands. He covers sports betting industry news market developments, the college sports betting industry, and the four major North American pro sports leagues. With 25+ years of journalism experience to Gaming Today. He is a five-time winner of the Iowa’s prestigious Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting award, a two-time National Newspaper Association award winner and a 50-time Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.

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