Lottery Moves Ahead
May 2, 2019
Southern Torch (3656 articles)
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Lottery Moves Ahead

By Zach Hester,Reporter

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Last Thursday, the Alabama Senate passed Sen. Greg Albritton’s “clean lottery” bill. It passed with the minimum 21 votes needed to pass an amendment to the Alabama Constitution. 

As previously reported, the bill isn’t intended to establish a lottery in the State of Alabama. Instead, the bill’s passage would allow people the chance to vote on whether or not they want a lottery. 

Albritton stated that he had anticipated a close vote, but was “pleased…and grateful it’s over.” 

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) opposed the bill on the basis that it “doesn’t create enough revenue” for the state.

“We need to do a complete lottery that will grow and get the maximum amount of dollars that we possibly can for the state of Alabama,” stated Singleton. The Senate had previously removed an amendment proposed in committee by Singleton that would have protected jobs and revenues in counties that had facilities dealing with electronic bingo and parimutuel betting.

Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) also opposed Albritton’s lottery bill. He had previously proposed another lottery bill that would’ve defined a broader lottery system that would have allowed video lottery terminals in counties already practicing electronic bingo and parimutuel betting. 

The revenues from Albritton’s lottery would be put toward the General Fund and Alabama Trust Fund. It does not fund scholarship programs. 

The last time that Alabamians had a chance to vote on a lottery, they rejected it. Then-Governor Don Siegelman’s lottery was approved by both houses of the Legislature but ultimately, failed to catch fire with voters. Another attempt at a lottery was made in 2016 by Governor Robert Bentley, who called a special session for a lottery, that never made it out of the legislature.

The bill now waits to be discussed in the Alabama House of Representatives, where it once again requires a three-fifths approval from the legislative body. If approved by both houses of the Alabama Legislature, the proposal would appear on ballots next March alongside Alabama’s presidential primary ballot.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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