Gambling Bill in Alabama Not Passed

The past few years has seen major changes in the US gambling industry. More and more states have been legalizing gambling but not so Alabama. The senate has failed to pass a new law that would have seen ten casinos open.

In the past, it had been the federal government that decided on the legalization of gambling in individual states. A US Supreme Court judge ruling three years ago changed all of that. Now it’s the states themselves that can make the important decision. Plenty have taken that, eager to get their hands on all the tax revenue gambling can bring.

Last week the Alabama Senate debated a new gambling bill that would have seen great change in the state. The plan was to allow ten casino locations opened as well as betting on sport and a state lottery.

However, it is not to be as votes were two short of the 21 needed to pass the constitutional amendment. The gambling bill had been the brainchild of Sen. Del Marsh and as you can imagine, he’s not in the best of moods at present.

“I’m very disappointed,” he said after the vote. Who is to blame for the bill not getting enough votes? Well, the senator actually blames himself. He had been confident of it passing and so were the traditional casinos and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

However, only 19 votes were in favour and 13 against. The votes weren’t there so it wasn’t the right time to put the bill before the Senate. There had been plenty of negotiations over the bill and it looked as if a vote might be delayed as two Democrats who supported the bill were ill.

The debate went ahead but Marsh didn’t seem in control of what was happening. He allowed senators to make amendments while only tabling one himself. A lot of discussion was on how many casino locations there would be with this being increased from eight to ten. The higher number was “the end” according to one lobbyist. Republicans in the Senate had been concerned about too many being opened.

The bill had received a lot of support from voters. They were in favour of expansion of gambling in the state. The thought of being able to legally gamble on sport seemed very attractive to them.
It’s not the end of the desire to legalize gambling in Alabama. Word is that Gov. Kay Ivey wasn’t pleased at the result of the vote. A special summer session may take place to discuss gambling in the state. Ivey had worked on the bill and also believed that the votes were in place to pass it.

“There is more work to be done. This issue is too important to not get it right,” said a statement released by the governor. Of course, all the millions of tax revenue that would be earned is too important to miss out on.

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