Lottery bill status: How close are we now?

Special Reports

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A crucial vote on an Alabama lottery could come later today in Montgomery. The full Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would limit a lottery to paper tickets. We’re one of five states without a lottery. But just how close are we to getting one?

Alabamians spend an estimated one billion dollars every year playing the lottery or gambling in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi. 

So now enter, Senate Bill 220.  The bill was introduced in the legislature this year by Atmore Republican Sen. Greg Albritton.  Albritton’s bill allows for a lottery to be played with paper tickets, interstate games such as Powerball and Mega-millions.  Intrastate games like paper scratch-offs. But no electronic gambling. 

Senator Albritton explained, “The lottery no matter what type of lottery you have will produce somewhere around 170 million, alright a year, that’s the state’s take. “
     
Narrowly passing in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee, Senator Albritton’s bill is now in the hands of the full Senate. 
Senators are expected to vote on it today. 

Senator Albritton said, “The simplest easiest thing that people can vote on that’s what I am trying to do.” 

 If the bill passes in the Senate, it will be up to Alabama voters to decide if they want a statewide lottery.  In 1999, voters said no, 54 to 46 percent. 
Many believe in the last 20 years Alabama voters are tired of driving to other states to purchase lottery tickets and may have changed their minds. 

Casandra Blanton, an Alabama resident said, “Obviously, when you have people going to the state line to purchase a ticket, we could be monopolizing on that money.” 
 
Albritton’s bill is not the only lottery bill being discussed in Montgomery. Springville Republican Sen. Jim McClendon is sponsoring a bill that would allow video lottery terminals at dog tracks and other state facilities. His bill has not made it onto a Senate committee’s agenda.

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