WATCH: Political Analyst Steve Flowers talks push for gambling, lottery in Alabama

Alabama News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — In May, Alabama lawmakers ended the 2021 legislative session without a vote on a gambling bill. But soon, discussions may pick back up.

A comprehensive gambling bill passed the Senate in the last session but ran out of time to be voted on in the House.

The session wound down without a House vote on the Senate-passed lottery and casino bill. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said House leaders opted not to bring the bill up for debate on the busy final legislative day after negotiations fell apart earlier this month.

Alabamians last voted on the issue of gambling in 1999 when voters rejected then-Gov. Don Siegelman’s proposed lottery to fund education. Over the next two decades lawmakers made multiple attempts to pass a gambling bill but the efforts failed amid battles and turf wars over casino gambling.

The Alabama Track Owners Association released a commercial recently asking for voters to contact their lawmakers to pass a comprehensive gambling bill that includes casinos and a lottery. The organization would like to see the issue of gambling addressed in a special session and not wait until lawmakers return for the 2022 regular legislative session in January.

The spokesman for the ATOA, Robert Kennedy Jr., said there are many competing interests when it comes to gaming, but believes it’s important the dog tracks are at the center of the conversation. Kennedy also said his organization would like to see the issue of gambling addressed in a special session and not wait until lawmakers return for the 2022 regular legislative session in January.

If approved by lawmakers, the bill would then go to Alabama voters. 

The full interview with Steve Flowers can be watched in the video player above.

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