Alabama Sports Betting Bill Approved By Senate Committee

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Alabama fans are one step closer to betting legally on their Crimson Tide (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

Legislation that would put sports betting on the ballot in Alabama this fall passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee today.

The measure, Senate Bill 294, now goes before the full Senate for consideration. 

State Sen. Greg Albritton, a Republican, is the primary sponsor of the legislation. He told the committee the “unofficial” name of the proposal is “The Gambling Control Bill” because gambling is already taking place in Alabama, albeit illegally. 

“This is not an expansion bill, this is a control bill,” he said. 

As written, the legislation proposes:  

  • The minimum age to place a sports bet is 21;
  • Mobile and retail sports betting is allowed;
  • $100,000 license fee for a sports operator;
  • 20% tax on gross revenues paid to the state by sports betting operator;
  • Professional and collegiate sports bets, as well as prop bets are permitted. 

Opposition To Alabama Sports Betting

The majority of those who spoke during the hour-long hearing were opposed to the measure. They argued the bill creates “winners and losers” with some regions of the state benefiting more than others. 

One opponent likened expanded gambling opportunities to expanded food opportunities, noting many get fat around the Christmas holidays because they have more food to eat. The same would happen with gambling addicts if they were given more chances to place bets, he said. 

State Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Democrat, expressed concern that minority communities were not given proper consideration in the bill.

Albritton said he would work with Smitherman to address his concerns. 

Next Steps To Legalized Betting In Alabama

If the measure is approved by both chambers, it would go before the Alabama voters in November.

But the clock is ticking.

The Alabama Legislature is set to adjourn April 7.

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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