Two gaming measures in Alabama face potential amendments

Alabama Sports Betting Casino Lottery Bill
Image: Shutterstock

Two measures that aim to authorize sports betting in Alabama could be amended.

House Bill 151 and House Bill 152, which are sponsored by Rep. Chris Blackshear, were introduced in the Alabama House earlier this month and quickly garnered approval. HB 151 proposes a constitutional amendment to allow residents to vote on the fate of wagering in the Heart of Dixie, while HB 152 provides the framework for sports betting and a lottery. 

HB 151 passed by a 70-32 vote while HB 152 was approved with a 67-31 vote.

If signed into law, HB 152 would establish the Alabama Gaming Commission as a regulator of sports betting and the Alabama Lottery Corporation as an administrator of the state lottery. Despite the opportunity to create a new revenue stream for Alabama, the two bills have been met with opposition from residents and various groups across the state.

“Gambling is bad public policy,” Alabama Farmers Federation Director of External Affairs Brian Hardin told Senate Tourism Committee members during a hearing on Wednesday. “It hurts families, weakens communities, targets the vulnerable, and fuels crime. In short, the costs far outweigh any potential revenue.”

The potential revenue in Alabama could range between approximately $635 million and $913 million annually if sports wagering, casino-style games, and a lottery are authorized through HB 151 and HB 152, according to the Legislative Services Agency. However, the two bills may be amended to adhere to stipulations from both the House and Senate.

“We’ve got to come together, that’s our job,” said Sen. Greg Albritton during the committee hearing. “We’ve got to find a way that we can work together to get this resolved. If we don’t, Alabama and Alabamians will suffer.”

HB 151 and HB 152 will continue to be discussed in an Alabama subcommittee this week.