It started with the state’s very conservative governor asking for a study on the impact of increased gambling opportunities on the state.
The Alabama state Senate voted last week to advance legislation that would put sports betting, along with other gambling opportunities on the ballot in the November 2022 election.
Senate Bill 310 would designate the Alabama Gaming Commission to oversee and administer state gambling operations, including sports betting. Senate Bill 319 calls for a statewide referendum. The two bills were part of a larger package of bills that the upper chamber passed earlier this month.
“The Senate has been debating this topic for decades, and it is finally time we provide the people of our state with a solid product to address this issue,” said state Sen. Del Marsh (R.), a proponent of the measures, said in a statement.
What’s At Stake in Alabama
Under the proposed legislation, which voters would not be able to sparse apart — meaning they accept all or none of it — mobile sports betting could come to Alabama as soon as 2023.
Sports betting could also take place at any of the up to six new casinos that could ultimately come about as a result of the legislation. College and professional athletics would be eligible.
The legal age would be 21 throughout all platforms.
The legislation stipulates varying tax rates for the revenue generated.
The Alabama House of Representatives has until May 30 before it adjourns to address the issue.
Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced a 12-person panel in February 2020 to determine how increased gambling opportunities would help or hurt the state.
The findings, announced late last year, were clear: Alabama loses big-time by not having sports betting and other options. Furthermore, the state stands to gain millions if it did allow for casino development and other gaming opportunities.
The report estimated the state could see as much as $700 million in revenue from a state lottery, additional casinos, and sports betting in the state.
“Gambling will work in the state of Alabama,” Todd Strange, the former mayor of Montgomery and chairman of the study group, said at the time, as reported by AL.com, a news website. “And we feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in that endeavor.”