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State Rep. Phillip Rigsby on legal gaming: ‘I believe the people should have the right to vote on this’

The Alabama House of Representatives passed a two-bill package Thursday to allow a statewide lottery, casinos, and sports betting in the Yellowhammer State.

Part of the law is a constitutional amendment that will have to be approved by Alabama voters in the November 2024 general election. The amendment will authorize a statewide education lottery, traditional raffles and bingo, casino-style gaming, and sports wagering. It also creates a 9-member Alabama Gaming Commission and enables the Governor to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

RELATED: Alabama House advances legal gaming, education lottery, statewide vote

Recently on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program,” State Rep. Phillip Rigsby (R-Monrovia) discussed why he supports the comprehensive gaming package.

“I am supporting the piece of legislation because it’s a constitutional amendment and I believe the people should have a right to vote on this,” Rigsby said. “Now whether it’s a good piece of legislation and you vote for it, or it’s a bad piece of legislation and you vote against it, or whatever your convictions are, I believe in this case, since it’s a constitutional issue, the people should get a vote on this.”

Rigsby said a gaming law was necessary because of the illegal gaming that is taking place in Alabama.

“(E)verybody knows that we have a lot of illegal gaming going on and we got to do something to curtail that,” he said. “I do believe this legislation would address that issue. And I think the people that have done the work to figure that out have done a good job putting that piece of legislation together.”

The lawmaker also said the state could benefit from the extra tax revenue that will be generated from the legislation.

“There’s a lot of people who think that the funding would be a good thing to fund some of the issues that we see going forward,” he said. “We are seeing now that our budgets are kind of stagnating. They’re not increasing in the record amounts like we’ve had in the last two years. We are starting to see a flattening of the budget. So there’s going to be a lot of talk about funding going forward. This is a piece that could potentially add to the pot through appropriations to help that.”

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

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