Alabama lawmakers preparing to introduce sports gambling bills at next legislative session

WAFF's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 11:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Sports gambling is a popular and booming industry.

The activity is currently illegal in Alabama, but more than 30 states across the country allow it, including neighboring states Tennessee and Mississippi.

“Right now the will of the people is that they want the lottery, they want casinos, they want the whole gambit,” said State Representative John Rogers. “And it happens anyway because they’ll go into other states to participate.”

Rogers has been fighting for people’s right to gamble in the state, arguing Alabama is allowing other states to benefit from providing people a chance to place wagers or play the lottery. He says people will find a way to gamble one way or another.

“The FBI said Alabama has the highest percentage of illegal gaming of any state in the union,” he said.

In Tennessee, legal sports gambling has added an extra $73 million in taxes, with bettors providing more than $400 million in revenue for the state.

Alabama State Senator Greg Albritton says not having sports gambling in the state has cost the state at least $800 million in potential revenue. Last year he sponsored a bill that would have allowed sports gambling, but it failed.

He says he expects to see more gambling bills once the legislative session starts on Tuesday.

“I believe there will be at least one, probably closer to five different gaming bills that will be dropped in the House and the Senate,” Albritton said. “It is my intention to take each one of those as they come and try to combine them into a comprehensive bill, which is what the state needs.”

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