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State Sen. Chambliss: Gambling bill ‘the most transformative piece of legislation that we will see in our lifetime’

If Alabamians in November 2022 have the opportunity to vote and approve the gambling constitutional amendment proposal currently under consideration in the legislature, it could change the state in profound ways, according to State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville).

Monday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Chambliss called the bill the “most transformative” legislation we could see in our lifetime, noting how it would take Alabama from a state that prohibits gambling to one that allows full-scale casino gaming.

The Autauga County lawmaker urged his colleagues to take their time considering the bill.


“This is probably the most transformative piece of legislation that we will see in our lifetime,” he said. “If this legislation passes and the people vote on it, it is going to change our state. I’m hoping that we really take it slow, take it easy, and really just study and have a lot of debate. We have started the debate, as you mentioned. Hopefully, we’ll continue that, and hopefully, we’ll get it right instead of just rushing it through.”

“[T]his is a big bill,” Chambliss continued. “It is heavy reading. Some bills we read are easy reading. This one is heavy reading. I understand the Senator has been working on it nine months or so, and we’ve seen it about nine days. We’re still trying to digest it and work through it. So, like I say, hopefully, we’ll do that and not rush for passage.”

“We would go from a state with a constitutional prohibition on any type lottery to a full-scale gambling state,” he added. “We need to be very careful with that. The vote would not be until November 2022, so I don’t sense a need to just rush it to get it done. We need to be deliberate. We need to look at the details and just make sure we get it right.”

Chambliss acknowledged some tenets of a free market were not possible under the current situation but argued for caution when allowing some operators in the state and excluding others.

“I have some concerns,” Chambliss said. “Anytime you go from one end of the spectrum to the other, you need to be careful. What are the unintended consequences? One of the big issues is the free market. This seems to be going counter to what we as Republicans like to see as a free market, understanding that are things that have happened over the years that prevent us from being a truly free market because we do have operators already in the state. On one hand, we’re giving some writing into the constitution their ability to operate and excluding others. So, we need to be very careful when we do that.”

@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.