Alabama senator working on new gambling legislation

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 7:32 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - One Alabama state senator is close to making another effort to pass a gambling bill in the state. During the 2021 legislative session, the bill died in the House, and Sen. Greg Albritton wants this time around to be different.

“Everybody that’s against gaming tells me they don’t want an expansion of gaming,” said Albritton. “What I’m trying to do is stop it where it is, to get control of it, try to reduce it even.”

While Albritton tries to get more supporters, some opponents won’t be swayed.

“Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. What gambling does is it steals from the poor to give to the rich,” said Joe Godfrey, president, and CEO of the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP).

Godfrey believes the bad outweighs to good when it comes to a lottery.

“When people are buying lottery tickets or gambling at casinos, they’re not buying goods and services,” said Godfrey.

He says small businesses to local municipalities could suffer a result.

“That’s happened in every other state that has gambling. They’ve had to raise their taxes. They have higher taxes, less provisions in state government,” said Godfrey.

Albritton plans to sponsor this legislation and disagrees. He uses New York as an example.

“The recent New York Times article about, New York started doing the sports gaming, controlling and taxing sports gaming,” said Albritton. “And in one month, I think it was in January, they started it, and already now, the first 30 days, if you will, they pulled in 80 million bucks.”

Albritton believes Alabama’s sports could do even better. He’s drafted three bills, unreleased, but he says each of them reflects what he tried to pass last year.

“Nothing new at this, we’ve debated this over and over and over again,” said Albritton.

“I think I can pass most any one of these in the Senate. The question is how well and how strong because whatever we send has got to go to the House and they’re not inclined to do anything again.”

Albritton says he wants to meet with the Senate Republican caucus again before filing a bill and meet with members in the House, where the bill died last year.

A gambling bill has not been filed yet.

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