Alabama Crimson Tide player Mark Sears (1) passes out as Auburn Tigers take on Alabama Crimson Tide at Neville Arena in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Auburn Tigers 77-69.
- As expected, Alabama legislators introduced an expansive bill to legalize casino, sports betting, and lottery
- Seven casinos would be authorized in the bill
- In-person and online sports betting would be authorized
An expansive Alabama bill to legalize casinos, sports betting, and lottery was recently introduced in the Yellowhammer State.
Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-80) and Rep. Andy Whitt (R-6) introduced HB 152 Thursday afternoon. The bill, if approved, will legalize up to seven casinos in the state, in-person and online sports betting, and a state lottery to support Alabama education.
The bill had been rumored to be introduced for the last several weeks. Mississippi legislators even pointed to the possibility of the bill last week when they were discussing their own online sports betting package.
Massive Proposed Gaming Expansion in Alabama
The bill, if approved by the House and Senate, will then have to be approved by state voters in Alabama’s November general election.
If approved, an Alabama Gaming Commission will be established to license and regulate the conduct of all sports wagering, charitable gaming activities, lotteries, and casino gaming activities in the state. The bill will also create the Alabama Gaming Enforcement Division, which will include the power to police all gaming activities in the state and “work to eradicate unlawful gaming and gaming-related activities,” the legislators wrote.
Casinos will be taxed at a rate of 24% of net gaming revenue and 95% of total gaming revenue will be allocated to the state’s Gaming Trust Fund every month. A percentage of the revenues will then be distributed among municipalities where the casinos are located.
Casino licenses will be valid for a 15-year term. An extended initial license term could be granted by the gaming commission if the applicant proposes to make a minimum capital investment of $500 million at the proposed site. Casino license fees shall not be less than $5 million.
Sports betting will be taxed at 17% of net gaming revenue, with 90% of the revenue allocated to the Gaming Trust Fund and 10% to be allocated among each county commission to be used “exclusively for law enforcement purposes of the respective sheriff’s department.”
The bill notes that the Alabama Gaming Commission will adopt rules to set a minimum and maximum number of online sports betting licenses in the state.
Additionally, a lottery will be established in the state, with revenues earmarked for a Lottery for Education Fund. The fund will establish two-year community and technical college scholarships, offset dual enrollment costs, invest research dollars for higher education, and support other education resources in the state.
Governor Backing Gaming Bill
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) backed the gaming bill earlier in the week during her State of the State address. Ivey urged the passage of the bill to allow Alabama voters to have the final say on the gaming expansion in the November general election, according to 1819 News.
“This year, when Alabamians make their way to the ballot box, I hope they will be voting on another issue: Gaming,” Ivey said. “I believe the current proposal being contemplated by the Legislature is good for Alabama, and I will be carefully watching it move through the process. It will crack down on illegal gambling, and it will responsibly regulate limited forms of legal gaming, including a statewide lottery. Thank you to Speaker Ledbetter and his leadership team for their hard work on this. Now is the time for Alabama voters to have another say on this issue.”
Rob covers all regulatory developments in online gambling. He specializes in US sports betting news along with casino regulation news as one of the most trusted sources in the country.