While the chances of a comprehensive gaming bill passing the Alabama Senate appears to have met a standstill, an effort is underway in the lower chamber to pass what is being referred to as a “clean lottery bill.”
Sponsored by State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island), the bill would allow the citizenry to vote whether or not to establish a state education lottery. The legislation is narrower in scope as opposed to State Sen. Greg Albritton’s (R-Atmore) proposal to address both lottery and gaming.
During a Thursday appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Brown discussed his efforts to move a lottery-only bill through the legislature.
Brown mentioned that Alabamians for decades have been traveling out of state to purchase lottery tickets and indicated that lawmakers desired to vote on the matter.
“Well, actually it’s a bottom-up bill. And what I mean by that is I had other members, and we talked about it, you’ve got a lot of members that want to vote on a clean lottery bill,” Brown told host Todd Stacy. “The people in their district want it. They want that opportunity. You know, we’re a state that’s surrounded by lotteries. You’ve got it in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi. My district borders Mississippi but I can get to Florida within an hour. Alabama’s been playing the lottery, we’ve just been playing it in other states for almost since the 1980s.”
He added, “So the thinking on this is that the members of the House want this opportunity to put a bill out that’s just a clean lottery. By a clean lottery bill, what I mean is just a bill that only has a lottery in it. No outside gaming, strictly a lottery. And get that to the people of Alabama and let them vote on it. We haven’t voted on a lottery bill since 1999. So it’s just time.”
“[Y]ou’ve got to remember, we came in 2019, we came within one vote in the House of passing a lottery that Representative Steve Clouse had,” continued Brown. “I think since then we’ve seen gambling bills come up and they’ve failed.”
Brown struck a confident tone concerning the outlook of his bill by saying it stood a chance of passing the legislature.
He concluded, “I’ve had conversations with several senators that would like the opportunity to just have a lottery bill to put out there to the people of their districts. So I’m optimistic, I really am. I think we have a chance here. I think we have a good bill.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL