Clouse to introduce lottery bill that would fund education

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- A legislative bill that would allow Alabamians to vote on a state operated lottery will be considered in the upcoming session.

Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) unveiled his lottery plan Monday during an address to the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. (Source: WTVY)

The measure, authored by Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark), designates all profits from that lottery to education.

“Hopefully, there will be a consensus (among lawmakers) on the distribution,” he told WTVY.

Half would go to the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education for use in the state's Pre-K program. The other half would fund grants, scholarships, and other assistance for students.

“We're completely surrounded now by Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Tennesse that have lotteries. I think that could make a difference (for chances of passage), Clouse said.

Clouse's bill does not permit video lottery terminals. As in the past, that could be a sticking point for lawmakers who support VLT's, electronic gadgets that mimic traditional slot machines.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians that operates three casinos in Alabama has indicated it would pay up to one billion dollars for near-exclusive gaming rights. The Creeks might oppose a lottery.

Clouse's bill would allow the sale of scratch-off tickets as well as participating in multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions.

The constitutional amendment must receive 60 percent support in the legislature and then be approved by voters. Clouse will introduce the measure in the next few days.

Clouse estimates a state operated lottery will generate at least $160 million a year, and likely up to $200 million.

He unveiled his plan Monday during an address to the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

The legislative session begins February 4.

(This story updated to reflect revenue estimate and comments from Rep. Clouse).

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