Alabama Passes Sports Betting and Gambling House Bills

Alabama lawmakers have successfully taken a significant step towards the legalization of gambling and sports betting in the state by passing two sweeping bills. Rep. Chris Blackshear-sponsored House Bills 151 and 152 made it through the Alabama House with a sweeping majority.

The two bills mark the first step towards legalizing gambling and sports betting in Alabama. Between HB151 and HB152, the bills include accommodations for a new state lottery, more casinos, and the introduction of sports betting in Alabama, along with proposals to create the required infrastructure to facilitate a smooth transition toward legalization.

Here is more on the Alabama sports betting and gambling house bills.

Alabama House Bill 151 to Be Put to Public Vote

House Bill 151 is a constitutional amendment requiring public confirmation to make it into law. Both bills were received favorably and created a good first impression, with Governor Kay Ivey indicating last week that the bills in their “current form” have her support. “The proposal passed by the House will clean up and crack down on the rampant illegal gambling and will allow Alabamians to have their say on regulated, limited forms of gaming,” she said.

The two-bill package was approved by voice votes first by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee before being officially passed by the House. In the House, HB151 passed with a 70-32 margin, and HB152 was passed 67-31.

The first of the two bills, HB151, aims to legalize retail and online sports betting in addition to a state lottery and casinos in the existing areas of the state that host bingo-type games. With its broad ambit, the bill is positioned as a singular blanket reform that will address many of the state’s long pending gaming and betting legislation updates.

The bill will also allow the state to authorize a gaming compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who currently run three existing casinos.

Alabama House Bill 152 Specific to State Lotteries

Bill HB 152 outlines intentions and plans to create a state lottery and a gaming commission to regulate this gambling sector in the state. The Alabama Gaming Commission, once formed, will license the casinos and include provisions for a new law enforcement division. As per the bill’s language, the Alabama Gaming Commission could license up to six casinos in the state, while a seventh casino will exclusively belong to the Poarch Band.

“Finally, at least from the House perspective, we heard you loud and clear from the polling, and we’re giving the citizens the right to decide what they want in the state as it relates to gaming,” Rep. Blackshear said to reporters after the bill’s passage.

According to the Legislative Services Agency, the state could earn as much as $900 million from casinos, sports betting, and the lottery. This figure includes the potential income that could be earned from a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

At a public hearing earlier this week, Blackshear stated that the state’s expanded gambling infrastructure could bring in as much as $1.21 billion in revenue. House Bill 152’s fiscal note states that casinos would bring in $315 million to $492.2 million at the upper end of the range, while $42.5 million could be earned from sports wagering.

On the other hand, the state lottery could earn $305.6 million to $379.4 million, in addition to another $300 million that could be gained from a potential compact with the Poarch Indians.

Long Road to Legislation Finally Leads to Gambling Expansion

Late in 2022, Senate Bills 293 and 294 were introduced to amend the Constitution of Alabama and introduce sports betting to in-person play at casinos or through casino-partnered mobile platforms. This bill limited the number of casinos to just five. However, neither bill made it past the Senate or through the vote.

In 2023, Alabama Democrats held a Pro-Growth Policy Conference to explore the state’s options for legalized sports betting. According to one of the sponsors of the two new bills, changes to the law will address the rampant illegal gambling taking place in Alabama. GeoComply Solutions, in a recently published blog post, stated that more than 35,000 geolocation checks took place from Alabama during the Super Bowl weekend.

The number of betting attempts from the state indicates a strong interest in wagering from sports fans. “They say in a lot of movies, ‘Houston, we have a problem,'” Republican Rep. Chris Blackshear told the House. “But I’m here to stand before you today and say, Alabama, we have a problem, and today’s our opportunity to take one big step forward in fixing that problem.”

The two bills were deliberated at length by members of the House before finally getting the go-ahead. The bills will now have to make it through the Senate once before being put to the test against public opinion as one of them is a constitutional amendment.



About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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