Defeat of Alabama Casino Bill Leads to Sole Potential for Lotteries
On Tuesday, March 9, the Senate of Alabama elected not to allow residents to vote on whether lotteries and casinos should be allowed within. Speaking on the decision, Senator Del Marsh said that he was “disappointed”, especially considering his bill fell just two votes shy of the 21 that it needed to pass.
However, just one day after that defeat, another senator is bringing forward plans to propose lotteries only, scrapping the casino part of the vote.
Senator Jim McClendon made others aware of his own legislation on the same day and is now moving forward with his attempt to have it considered by the Senate committee. If it progresses through, that will be decided on next week.
He spoke of the lottery-only approach being what most Alabama residents are interested in as far as expansion of the gambling scene in the state. Having spoken with people outside the State House and looking at poll figures, this is how he came to that determination.
“I haven’t had anybody in my district come to me and say, ‘I wish we had a roulette wheel or a craps table’. They don’t say that. They come to me and say, ‘I’d like to buy a lottery ticket without leaving the state’. They don’t mention table games and casinos,” said Senator Jim McClendon.
That being said, the Senator has tried passing lottery legislation on more than one occasion before. In fact, five years ago, his bill passed through the Senate but did not manage to make it towards its final approval once it was changed in the House. A lottery bill has not been approved since 1999, and at that time, voters rejected the plan for it by Gov. Don Siegelman.
In McClendon’s bill, a small commission would be formed so as to oversee a state lottery, and this would include multi-state games such as the Mega Millions and Powerball. Currently, lottery fans must cross state borders to get a lottery ticket from one of the four Alabama-surrounding locations.