State Sen. Albritton on Marsh gaming proposal: ‘I feel pretty good about it’ — ‘We have milked this cow dry’ on allocation of gambling revenue
On Tuesday, State Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) introduced what he deemed comprehensive gaming legislation, which, if enacted, would establish an education lottery in addition to casino gaming and sports betting at five designated areas throughout the state.
On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Tourism Committee gave a favorable report to the legislation, SB 214, and now it awaits consideration by the entire Alabama Senate.
State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) offered a favorable reaction to the proposal and expressed his optimism during an interview that aired on Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show” on FM Talk 106.5 in Mobile.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “It’s not the one I would write completely up, but it has elements of things I would put in it. I’ve always argued we could not get a lottery or anything accomplished with gaming in Alabama until we took the holistic approach. That’s what this bill does. It goes from the lottery, to the casinos, to the small units, to the large units, to sports betting, all the way through. So if it takes all aspects of gaming, and puts it under this one umbrella and gives the state back in charge legally, financially and otherwise so we can control it, so that we can regulate it and so that we can benefit from it.”
“There’s been a lot of effort put into this,” Albritton continued. “All of the owners have been engaged from the get-go. We’ve looked at every state in the union that’s been involved in this — at the different rates, at the different methodologies and things — and we’ve taken bits and pieces to put together to fit what Alabama needs and what Alabama can do. Right now, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to move this forward.”
Albritton, who also chairs the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, said the proposal does not leave much of the proceeds on the table. He laid out where both lottery and casino gambling revenue would be dedicated under the proposal.
“If there’s one place where we have milked this cow dry, if you will, is trying to accommodate all the needs we have there with the proper amount of earmarking, the proper amount of generalized revenue and specifics,” Albritton said. “For instance, the lottery — all the money that comes in from the lottery, just the lottery is going to go toward education. By that, education, I mean that is going to go for scholarships — four-year scholarships, two-year scholarships — is where that money will be used.”
“And then we have the casino gambling money, and it is going to be split in several different ways,” he added. “The first billion dollars will be going in to establish a workable real broadband system in the state of Alabama. That will be huge dividends for us in the future. Then, we’ll be doing things with mental health and also rural medical care. We’re going to look at ways these rural hospitals can remain stable, if that makes sense — medical care can be done. That includes not just the medical facilities, but also the telemedicine thing, which goes back to the broadband. It filters on through. There are few hands left empty with this bill.”
Marsh’s bill requires passage with a three-fifths majority in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature. Once it cleared that obstacle, it would go to the ballot for voters to approve.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.