Published: April 12, 2022

No up or down vote for lottery legislation in Alabama

Another legislative session has come and gone and Alabamians still can't vote a state lottery up or down. This while Mississippi to our west and Florida to our east are using lottery proceeds to fund key parts of government.

Here's the issue: Existing gaming interests, tribal casinos the dog tracks and sports betting all want a piece of the pie. The idea of a lottery in Alabama didn’t even make out of committee at this last legislative session.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this issue will be brought up every single year from now until there is some conclusion," said Baldwin County State Senator Chris Elliott.

Over the last couple of years various gambling bills have died, one big stumbling block has been where to allocate the proceeds, where should the money go? "I think education will be a good thing, mental health these days it would be a good thing and drug programs maybe," said Baldwin County resident Ken Faulkner.

The money is going elsewhere, people are traveling to Florida and Georgia, Mississippi and even Tennessee to buy their lottery tickets. "We go to Florida, we go to Colorado we go to all these places and we play the lottery we are responsible lottery players but you see what it does for their education system and how it helps the state. I think it’s a good thing," said Baldwin County resident Denise Kendrick.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says she'd like Alabamians to have a chance to vote, and voters say they'd like that chance too. "I've always said I wanted the people of Alabama to have a chance to vote on it so the legislature has to pass the bill first," said Ivey at a recent gathering.

"We thought years ago this would have been conquered... it’s like we are in the same rut," said Kendrick.

So... what will it take? "It’s finding the right pathway to success the combination between the existing casinos we have in Alabama, the existing gaming interest and the lottery folks and getting those on the same page where all a willing to let this go that will crucial," said Elliott.

Alabama is one of 5 states that doesn't have a lottery. The others are Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, and get this, Nevada.... of course Nevada has gambling.

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