Democrats in Alabama are exploring the possibility of adding pro-gambling policies into the 2024 legislative session.
As part of a decades-long battle to legally expand gambling in the state, the Democrat party is seeking to use gambling legislation as a key policy platform heading into next year as it pursues a pro-growth strategy.
WSFA reports that House Minority leader Anthony Daniels hopes for an agreement to be reached in the statehouse for further gambling provisions in the state to help boost the state economy.
Per the local outlet, Daniels said that sports betting, lottery and casinos would be on the table under his proposals next year.
He stated: “We’re going to talk about proceed revenue sharing, folks from Tennessee, folks from Georgia, vendors that deal with the lottery, so that our members will be able to get a full picture.
“Pro-growth means pro-Alabama, looking at ways to improve where we are.”
Despite Democratic hopes ahead of the next legislative session that begins early next year, a cross-party consensus would need to be reached given the strong Republican majority in both chambers of Alabama’s capital.
The Republicans hold 77 out of 105 seats in the House of Representatives and 27 of 34 seats in the Senate, meaning any hopes of gambling expansion would require both sides of the aisle agreeing, which is easier said than done in an increasingly polarized political landscape.
What makes this a harder task is that Alabama currently has no legal commercial gambling, just three tribal casinos.
Alabama is one of just five states to not have a state lottery, and efforts to legislate for one last year failed to bear fruit after several disagreements.
But with record-setting Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots in the last 12 months, Alabama is missing out on tax dollars to prop up the state budget during an economically tough period.
Whether this has any input into the debate and influencing policymakers to vote through gambling expansion remains to be seen, but from the Democrat leader’s comments, it would seem that Alabama’s state house could be one to watch in February when the next session begins.