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Gambling legislation fails to pass through Alabama legislature, again

Opponents of gambling are the lucky ones this legislative session, as all four of the lottery...
Opponents of gambling are the lucky ones this legislative session, as all four of the lottery bills working their way through the statehouse seem to have died.(WBRC)
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Opponents of gambling are the lucky ones this legislative session, as all four of the lottery bills working their way through the statehouse seem to have died. None of the bills have made it out of their original chamber, and with just four legislative days left, there isn’t enough time for the bills to make it to final passage.

House speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-District 25, has said the legislation wouldn’t be brought to the floor unless it had the votes to pass. Meanwhile, Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Baldwin County, says that because the bills were withdrawn from the House, the Senate does not want to be the only body to pass the legislation, only for it to fail.

“I have not gotten any responses, adequate responses, other than they just don’t want to deal with it,” said Albritton, whos is frustrated the decades-old debate continues.

Not everyone is upset, though.

“Everybody wants a piece of the pie,” said Joe Godfrey with Alabama Citizen’s Action Program. He attributes the failure of the legislation to greed.

“Anything that includes casinos, the lottery folks are not going to vote for,” said Godfrey. “And if it doesn’t include casinos, then those that want casinos are saying well, I’m not gonna vote for it.”

“Greed was also a part of the pot with the gas tax,” argued Albritton. “It was also a part of the pot with anything that comes out. It’s certainly a part of the part of the ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] money.”

But to Albritton, greed is human nature. “That should not stop the legislature from doing its duty in gaining control of this industry and regulating it,” he said.

Money from regulating the gaming industry would go toward education. Godfrey said not all of the revenue will make it to the classroom and suggested people donate to schools directly if they want.

“Half of it’s going to go to the winner of the lottery, and then a portion of it’s got to go to whoever’s managing the lottery, part of it will go for tax revenue to the state,” Godfrey said.

WSFA 12 News reached out to Gov. Kay Ivey about a possible gambling special session but did not hear back.

Albritton said he will finish out the session and then think about it introducing the legislation again next session.

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