The State Senate approved a bill last week by a vote of 23-9. The measure will now move to the House of Representatives for discussion and a vote, and if it passes, the issue of online sports and casino betting will be placed on the ballot in November of 2022.
Recent History Of Gambling In Alabama
Alabama has a long and complex history with state-sanctioned gaming. It’s one of only five states without a state lottery, and the state legislature has twice previously defeated bills that would have expanded gaming. Currently, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians operates three casinos in Alabama under Wind Creek Hospitality, a tribe-owned company. They also operate the Mobile Greyhound Park, which offers dog racing. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians previously offered the state a $1 billion license payment in return for exclusive rights in Alabama, but an agreement has not been made. The Tribe has indicated that when and if online gaming is legalized in the Cotton State, they will open at least three additional casino and gaming locations.
Impact Study Predicts $710 Million In Annual Tax Revenues
There is speculation by many observers of the gaming industry that if Alabama legalizes sports betting and online casino betting, it will be a tremendous boon to the economy. Last December, a study that examined the issue was released by the Governor’s Study Group on Gambling Policy. According to the study, casinos could generate up to $400 million, a state lottery may generate as much as $300 million, and legal sports betting could net $10 million in tax revenue annually. Some experts believe the sports betting tax figures are conservative.
Popularity Of Alabama Football Could Drive Sports Betting In The State
How popular is Alabama football? How beloved are the Crimson Tide? Well, there was the fan who postponed his wedding and missed the funeral of his mother to attend Alabama football games. Or the 189 fans who got Alabama “A” logo face tattoos for a chance to get season tickets. A chance for tickets.
Or what about Harvey Updyke, the crazed Crimson Tide fanatic who poisoned and killed famous trees on the campus of Auburn University. He called into a sports talk radio show and confessed to his crime, and Alabama jurors saw fit to sentence him to less than a year in jail.
Regular non-insane, sit-on-the-couch-and-eat-potato-chips folks love Alabama football too. In 2019, the top three college football games in terms of TV ratings all included the Crimson Tide. The Southeast Conference is the top-rated conference by ratings, and Crimson Tide licensed apparel and gear ranks #1 in the NCAA, despite Alabama’s population ranking 24th in the United States.
Everything about Alabama football is an “11” on a scale of 1 to 10. Fans love the stadium, they love their team, they worship head coach Nick Saban, they hate Auburn (and Tennessee, and LSU, and Mississippi State, and Clemson…), and they love to cheer “Roll Tide!”
And what’s not to love? The school has won 18 national titles, six of them in the last twelve seasons. The program has a lifetime winning percentage of .729 with 32 conference titles. In the last ten seasons, the Crimson Tide are an amazing 127-12 with eight Bowl game victories.
If sports betting were legalized in Alabama and fans could gamble online, revenues may far exceed expectations. With live betting and parlay options, as well as special bets (imagine being able to bet on which player scores the first touchdown in the annual Iron Bowl matchup between Alabama and Auburn?), gaming receipts might break records.
People love football in Texas and Oklahoma. There are crazy college football fans in southern California (all of them tan), and Florida can get crazy for Saturday football. But Alabama is the cradle of college football, and when sports betting comes to the Crimson State, the Crimson Tide will be a popular choice for gamblers.