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Sen. Orr: Clean lottery bill ‘would pass in a New York second’

Lottery and gambling continues to be an issue debated in Alabama even though the Legislature failed to pass any related bills in the last session.

This year, a comprehensive gambling proposal in the Senate by State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) would created a lottery, five casinos, two casinos, sports betting and statewide regulation of gambling.

There was also a “clean” lottery bill going through the House by State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island). It which would have allowed Alabamians to vote on a state education lottery.

Friday on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) explained why lottery and gambling legislation is so difficult to pass in the Yellowhammer State.

“A lottery, a clear lottery, call it what you will, probably would include scratch-offs and other things, it would pass in a New York second,” Orr said, “if it were able to go in that fashion.”

Orr said the gaming interests keep getting in the way from accomplishing what the majority of Alabamians support, which is some kind of lottery.

“However, all the legacy gaming interests, be they the video bingo halls in some of the Black Belt counties, or the Indian gaming down in south Alabama, they do not want that lottery train leaving without their issues on it,” he said. “And that would be full-scale gaming.

“And, unfortunately, they want to carve up the state, not have it bid out, have other organizations try to get the highest dollar and they basically want to franchise for the state.”

He also said there’s a possibility things could change in the near future to get something done, but it still won’t be easy to accomplish.

“New Legislature coming in; we’ll see what happens,” he said. “The membership will be changing and that may move the numbers one way or another.”

Orr reiterated that Alabamians deserve a chance to decide if they want some kind of lottery in the state.

“The people deserve the right to vote on that lottery,” he said. “That’s what I hear the most, and want the right to vote on that up or down. If you’re against it, vote against it, you’re for it vote for it, but it’s a shame seeing it being held up by those entrenched high-moneyed interests that want their issues taken care of as well and, unfortunately, to their advantage.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11am on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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