Regulated sports betting no longer a reality in Alabama for 2024

Alabama Sports Betting Dead
Image: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock

Alabama residents and visitors will have to wait until next year for sports betting to be reconsidered.

House Bill 151 and House Bill 152 were approved by a 72-29 vote on Tuesday by the Alabama House of Representatives as amended measures that excluded the authorization of sports betting and table games. In February, the two measures were heard by the state’s Economic Development Committee with sports betting and non-tribal retail casino language included. A month later, the Senate removed the language.

The Senate version provided the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Alabama’s only federally recognized tribe, with exclusive rights to operate retail casino gambling across the state.

HB 151 and HB 152 are now moving forward as bills that support a state lottery and up to seven licensed slots parlors in the Heart of Dixie with oversight provided by the Alabama Gaming Commission. Under the measures, revenue is allocated toward education.

The two amended measures face an uphill battle to be signed into law in 2024 following a Senate test vote earlier this week, according to the Associated Press. The vote was one short of the 21 votes required for approval. A conference committee has also proposed a gaming compact to be negotiated between Gov. Kay Ivey and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as Senate members continue to discuss the bills this legislative session.

“The bills are carried over, so the legislation is still available to us to continue to debate it,” Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed told reporters this week.

Missed opportunity in Alabama

The new iterations of HB 151 and HB 152 follow House members voting in April to non-concur with amended versions of the measures, which included a lottery, historical horse racing, and parimutuel wagering. The bills required a constitutional amendment to be authorized with revenue split three ways to support education, expenses, and infrastructure.

Alabama projected a state lottery could generate between $305 million to $379 million in net revenue annually with parimutuel wagering bringing in roughly $132 million per year.

Versions of HB 151 and 152 that included sports betting proposed revenue to be taxed at a 17% rate with proceeds deposited into a gaming trust fund that supports law enforcement and mental health care. Now, lawmakers and sports fans in Alabama will have to wait until a new legislative session to potentially find a new stream of revenue and entertainment.