Birmingham, Ala. – Yesterday (March 9th, 2021), the Alabama State Senate rejected a constitutional amendment (SB214) establishing a lottery and allowing expanding gambling by a vote of 19-13, with 21 votes in the affirmative required for passage.
As one of API’s Key ‘No’ Votes for its 2021 legislative scorecard, API actively engaged in discussions on the bill throughout its time in the legislative process. Our work on the topic, however, extends before this session. “For many years, API has published a number of resources for the public on the issues of the lottery and gambling, including full reports, editorials, and podcasts,” Caleb Crosby, API President and CEO said. “Each highlighted what lawmakers and residents in other states are discovering too late – that a lottery and increased gambling are not solutions to any state’s problems.”
Since the defeat of the lottery in 1999 by popular vote, lottery and gambling legislation has been brought up in the legislature on a regular basis. Without failure, however, gambling interests have proven unable to agree and derailed their own measures.
“The bill as proposed was huge in scope and would have allowed for the expansion of casino gambling in at least 10 locations, aside from the fact that it also included a lottery and the expansion of Poarch Creek gambling operations in the state,” Phil Williams, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel said. “This bill died under its own weight, combined with the fact that the gambling interests turned it into a feeding frenzy.”
API applauds those senators who took the time to dig into the workings of SB214 and voted against it. API also cautions against any renewed attempts at expanding gambling in the state, including by establishing a state-run lottery.