Alabama Senate committee approves lottery legislation

Birmingham, Alabama, Lottery, Will Lester
Birmingham, Alabama, Lottery, Will Lester
Photographer: Will Lester/The Sun/AP, via People

Is another lotto bill about to die a swift death in Alabama? Probably. Does this bother you?

But, look! These Californians seem pretty happy. Getting this decision to voters sounds like a good idea to me.

No matter how you feel about a lottery, don’t you think voters should decide instead of the state?

What To The What?

The AP reports that the Alabama Senate Marketing and Tourism Committee recently approved lotto legislation that’s …

“… aimed at letting Alabama join multi-state games such as Powerball.”

Birmingham, Alabama, Powerball
Maryland Lottery winners, via
Powerball, Y’all?

On Wednesday the committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment with a 3-2 vote. The AP said that the bill will probably be heavily opposed if it makes it to the floor. Ya, think?

Lotto bills come and go in the Alabama legislature, most recently in 2016. In 1999, a lotto bill made it to a referendum, but voters killed it.

Birmingham, Alabama, lottery

The lottery proposal comes from outgoing Republican Sen. Paul Sanford, and it seeks to change the Alabama Constitution so Alabama could join multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions. Then, it would be up to Alabama voters.

Sanford told The Montgomery Advertiser that the bill does not have good odds.

“Slim to none,” he said.

Part of me is like: Why is this guy even bothering? He’s not running for re-election in June. File under: things that make you go hmmm … and isn’t this a topic ripe for gubernatorial candidates like this one and this one?

Sanford’s bill allocates 75 percent of lottery revenues to the state’s General Fund and 25 percent to the Education Trust Fund. The Advertiser also points out that revenue would make a small dent in the state’s budgets.

“The 2019 General Fund should stand at $2 billion, while the Education Trust Fund will likely come in at $6.6 billion.”

Birmingham, Alabama, Lottery, Powerball
Via SuperMoney

The Alabama Legislative Services Agency estimates that a lottery could bring in up to $45 million per year in revenue.

There’s two sides to this coin, ya’ll. Our education system needs money. A lotto could help with that. However, there’s also the viewpoint that a lottery is a tax on the poor.

44 states have a lottery. Along with us, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah do not. I’d love to know your thoughts, Birmingham.