Alabama Senate committee passes gambling bill, includes Bham casino + sports betting

Alabama Capitol
State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

An Alabama Senate committee passed constitutional amendment legislation today that will authorize the creation of a state lottery, establish five casinos and allow sports betting.  

Senate Bill 214, authored by State Senator Del Marsh of Anniston, was voted out favorably (11-0) by the Senate Tourism Committee. The bill can now be taken up by the full Senate.

To become a constitutional amendment, the gambling bill needs the approval of 60% of both the Senate and the House. Once that happens, Alabamians will vote on the measure, most likely in 2022.

Gaining Momentum

A divisive issue in Alabama politics for over a generation, the interest in gambling legislation gained momentum in December when Governor Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy released its findings.

According to the study, a lottery, casinos and sports betting could bring in between an estimated $510 to $710 million dollars annually to the state coffers. It would also potentially create 19,000 new jobs. 

Presently, Sen. Marsh’s legislation directs the gambling revenue to educational scholarships, vocational education, teacher training on STEM subjects, broadband, rural health care and mental health.

A Casino for Birmingham?

Casino in Birmingham? Photo via Unsplashed

If passed, up to five casinos will be established across the state. The locations listed in the bill include:

  • Birmingham Race Course
  • VictoryLand in Macon County
  • GreenTrack in Greene County
  • Mobile Greyhound Park

A fifth facility would be located in DeKalb or Jackson counties. 

During the tourism committee debate, there was discussion about creating a sixth casino in Lowndes County.

What’s Next

This is the first hurdle for the gambling bill. Next up: a vote by the Alabama Senate. 

Will Alabama have a lottery, casinos and sports betting after 2022? Let us know what you think.

Meanwhile, Bham Now will keep an eye on the gambling bill for you this session of the Alabama Legislature. Stay tuned. 

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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