Alabama Senate Committee Clears Casino Bill

The state of Alabama seems to always be behind the times when it comes to keeping up with the latest technologies and trends. The state does not offer a lottery or additional gambling options, but that could change. A bill has been introduced that would create a state lottery in Alabama as well as take the four existing dog tracks and add casino gaming. The legislation actually moved forward after a vote of 6-2 just yesterday.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted on the legislation on Tuesday, and if passed by lawmakers, the bill would move forward to voter approval. According to and several other news outlets, a statewide referendum would be created and voters would decide if the gaming options would be allowed in Alabama.

Proponents see the option of a lottery and casino gaming as a way to earn money for the state budget while opponents see the activities as something that preys on the poor. The lottery was first rejected in the state 15 years ago and has been avoided ever since. The state seems to be divided by those who would like to have the option to play the lottery and casino games while others, such as religious groups, who want to see the state remain lottery-free.

The bill will now move to the Senate floor, which has a Republican majority that are divided over the issue of gambling. An alternative option was suggested which would have the state join a multi-state lottery such as the Powerball, but this was tabled in committee.

Arguments ran rampant during the committee meeting with opponents pointing out how the poor will be affected. Senator Dick Brewbaker had strong feelings on the subject, wondering how the state officials could do something that would destroy the households of the poor within the state.

Senator Bobby Singleton fired back, asking where his concern was for the very same people when the state closed casinos forced the employees to get on welfare and unemployment. Singleton pointed out that gaming in Alabama would create as many as 11,000 jobs for those in need.

The Governor of the state, Robert Bentley, does not have good things to say about the casino and lottery legislation. Speaking out against the bill in May, Bentley stated that gaming proposal would make the state of Alabama look like Las Vegas.



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