Gov. Kay Ivey's study group to release findings on how lottery, casinos would affect Alabama

Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy will release its report Friday with a press conference at the State Capitol.

Ivey appointed the group in February to gather information about how Alabama would be affected by expanding legal gambling with a

A state lottery has been a hot topic in Alabama for years. A lottery or casinos would would require a constitutional amendment approved by the Legislature and a statewide vote.

Forty-five states have lotteries, including the four that border Alabama.

Lawmakers have seriously considered lottery proposals several times in the last five years. But the bills have stalled because of a competing factions and outright opposition to gambling.

It would take approval by three-fifths of the members of the House of Representatives and Senate to put an amendment for a lottery or casinos on the ballot for voters.

A lottery bill proposed this year had 70 co-sponsors in the 105-member House, but the session was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alabama voters last got a chance to vote on a lottery in 1999, when they rejected Gov. Don Siegelman’s plan to fund college scholarships, school technology, and pre-kindergarten.

Former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange chairs Ivey’s study group, which has held several public meetings.

Ivey has not been a proponent of a lottery but said she wants Alabama voters to have the information they need to decide.

“I am committed to, once and for all, getting the facts so that the people of Alabama can make an informed decision on what has been a hotly debated topic for many years,” Ivey said when she appointed the study group. “Without a doubt, there will be ramifications if we eventually expand gaming options in our state just as there are costs associated with doing nothing.”

Alabama has three electronic bingo casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Montgomery, and Wetumpka. But those are on tribal lands and not under state jurisdiction.

Several Alabama counties have electronic bingo casinos that operate under local amendments. Alabama attorneys general have opposed those operations for more than a decade and their legal status remains in dispute.

The Study Group on Gambling Policy will release its report Friday at 11 a.m. on the Capitol steps.

https://www.al.com/news/2020/12/gov-kay-iveys-study-group-to-release-findings-on-how-lottery-casinos-would-affect-alabama.html