Gaming measure in Alabama advances with House approval

Stacks of poker chips
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The Alabama House has voted in favor of a casino, lottery, and sports betting measure.

House Bill 151 and House Bill 152, two pieces of legislation that look to regulate and tax various forms of gambling in Alabama, were approved on Thursday in the state’s House.

HB 151, which calls for a constitutional amendment to allow voters to decide on the fate of wagering, was passed in the House by a 70-32 vote. Its companion, HB 152, which establishes the framework of betting and a state lottery, was approved with a 67-31 vote.

“It’s been 25 years since the people of Alabama have been able to give their voice,” House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said to House members on Thursday. “Today I think the members worked together and represented their districts to give the people a voice.”

Earlier this week, HB 151 and HB 152 received a favorable vote by the Alabama House Economic Development Committee. The two measures will now head to the Alabama Senate for further consideration.

Alabama gaming market could have a new look

HB 152 would create a framework for sports betting, casino-style games, and a lottery by establishing the Alabama Gaming Commission, which would regulate sports betting and casino games. A lottery would be administered by the Alabama Lottery Corporation with all wagering activities and lottery spending policed by a Gaming Enforcement Division.

The measure would see casino-style gaming taxed at a 24% rate with the majority of revenue distributed to a gaming trust fund. Sports wagering in the Heart of Dixie would see a 17% tax rate with portions of revenue allocated toward the fund and law enforcement.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians could also drive profits from gambling under HB 152 as it authorizes a gaming compact for the federally recognized tribe to offer regulated wagering.

HB 152 could generate between $635 million and $913 million in annual revenue by its inclusion of three forms of gambling, according to the Legislative Services Agency.