Online and retail sports betting removed from two Alabama gaming bills

Alabama No Sports Betting
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Alabama is missing an opportunity to authorize retail and online sports betting.

The Alabama Senate Tourism Committee has removed sports betting from two proposed pieces of legislation that also include a state lottery and online casino-style games. House Bill 151 and House Bill 152, which would now only authorize a lottery, historical horse racing, and parimutuel wagering, were passed in the committee but have other changes.

The measures, which are sponsored by Rep. Chris Blackshear, will also reduce the number of tribal casinos from seven to three. The Tourism Committee implemented the changes to HB 151 and HB 152 to garner enough support for the bills, which have been at the center of contentious discussions across both aisles in the Alabama Legislature. The measures will need a three-fifths majority as HB 151 calls for a constitutional amendment.

“We’re putting everyone on a level playing field,” Sen. Greg Albritton told Alabama Daily News.

Reduced economic opportunity in Alabama

Last month, HB 151 and HB 152 were approved in the Alabama House after receiving a favorable vote by its Economic Development Committee. HB 151 was passed in the House by a 70-32 vote while its companion, HB 152, was approved with a 67-31 vote.

If signed into law, gaming and a state lottery would be regulated by an Alabama Gaming Commission that is established under HB 151 and HB 152. The measures will also create opportunity for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians through a gaming compact that would allow the federally recognized tribe to offer expanded wagering at its three tribal casinos.

HB 151 and HB 152 were projected to generate between $635 million and $913 million in revenue annually before the amendments, per the Legislative Services Agency. The measures are now estimated to bring in $350 million in revenue, according to Albritton.

The bills will now head to the Senate for a vote. If approved, HB 151 and HB 152 would revert to the House to garner support once again due to their recent amendments.