Marsh: ‘Highly unlikely’ legislature passes lottery bill without package deal on gaming
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) on Thursday discussed the prospects of gaming expansion passing the legislature this session, including a lottery bill.
After the Senate gaveled out for the week, Marsh spoke to reporters outside the chamber. He was asked if he was leading negotiations between stakeholders in the gaming discussion.
“Look, my office is always open to discuss any issues of interest to the state,” Marsh responded. “Obviously I have conversations every week on gaming, whether it be from senators, House members or people who just represent gaming.”
“Do I expect a gaming package this session? You know, anything’s possible, but then again, with the governor’s position on the [study group], I’m thinking that perhaps pushes that down the road,” he continued. “But gaming is always discussed in the legislature. Has been for years and will continue to be discussed.”
“Typically, when you get into discussions about gaming, it’s always the same questions. Where is the lottery? What about game three? Where should these facilities be? Who feels they’re not being given the same opportunity as others? It’s a list of questions,” the pro tem advised.
“As I’ve said, I think if you’re ever going to get a gaming solution in Alabama, it’s going to have to be more of a package — and all those are pieces of that package,” Marsh added. “We will continue to have those discussions and the day will — I think there will be a day you’ll get a package and you’ll give a chance for the people who want to vote on a lottery a chance to vote on a lottery.”
Marsh was then asked about the House potentially moving forward with State Rep. Steve Clouse’s (R-Ozark) lottery bill and whether that legislation would have a good chance to pass the Senate if it first passed the lower chamber.
“It has a chance, but then again, I pride myself on making sure this operation works fairly smoothly for the people of the state of Alabama,” Marsh responded. “We have a great relationship [between] the Republican-Democratic side[s], we work well [together]. If I see something that’s going to be problematic, that I don’t think reasonably can be solved, there’s a chance I’m not going to let it come to the floor. But if I think that there’s a consensus and they want to see that happen, then it could. I’m not saying it won’t happen. I just still believe it’s highly unlikely, based on the personalities involved in the legislature, that you’re going to see that take place without a package deal [on gaming].”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn