Alabama House passes gaming bills

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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The Alabama House of Representatives passed two bills Thursday aimed at regulating gaming in Alabama.

The House passed House Bill (HB) 151, a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing five limited forms of gaming — an official state lottery, casino-style games at seven locations, limited sports wagering, traditional raffles and traditional paper bingo. — and prohibiting all other forms of gaming throughout the state. 

Alabama’s Congress also approved HB 152, legislation to establish the Alabama Gaming Commission and create the Gaming Enforcement Division to regulate gaming, implement a competitive bid process for gaming establishments operators and levy taxes on net gaming revenues.

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Governor Kay Ivey, following the House’s passage of House Bill 151 and House Bill 152, issued the following statement.

“I have long said the people of Alabama deserve to have another say on gaming, and today’s passage of HB151 and HB152 in the House is an important step forward and very significant, as this has not been accomplished by the House in years,” Ivey said. “The proposal passed by the House will clean up and crack down on the rampant illegal gambling and will give Alabamians the opportunity to have their say on regulated, limited forms of gaming. This is a tough, complex issue, and I commend Rep. Chris Blackshear, Rep. Andy Whitt and House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter for their leadership. I also commend each House member who voted today to limit, regulate and tax gaming and lottery activities in Alabama. I will remain engaged as this legislation moves to the Senate. In their current form, these bills will continue to have my support.”

House Bill 151 passed with a 70-32 vote. House Bill 152 after discussion of licenses granted in Houston and Lowndes counties. Initially the bill called for the gaming commission to give licenses to other areas if they were not purchased in Houston or Lowndes counties within five years. Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) offered an amendment clarifying licenses in those counties should remain there with transfer being made only to a different owner and not another county.

The bill passed with a final 67-31 vote and one abstention.

Licensing under the bill’s current form will be limited to specific counties — Macon, Greene, Lowndes, Houston and Mobile — and three existing operations of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians on federal tribal lands.

Now out of the House, the bill moves to the Senate for consideration. If approved in the Senate, the bills would be on the ballot in November giving Alabamians a voice in the state’s gaming plans.

Greg Davis, president and CEO of the Alabama Citizens Action Program encouraged constituents to contact their senators to let their voices be heard about the passage of the bills.

“I think it will be interesting to see how the numbers come together,” Davis said. “The Tourism Committee will hear the bill and I’m quite sure there will be a public hearing.

“The most important thing is that every person needs to know who their senator is and reach out and contact them. If they think Class three casinos in the state is a good thing, they should encourage [senators] to vote for it. If not, they should encourage senators to vote no.”

If passed, HB152 establishes guidelines for gaming tax revenue. The Alabama Lottery Corporation, governed by seven voting members appointed by the commission, and lottery funds will funnel into the Lottery for Education Fund. 

All non-lottery revenue will go into a newly created Gaming Trust Fund and ultimately into Alabama’s “rainy day fund” until balances exceed $300 million. Then 95% will continue to be allocated to the gaming fund. County commission will receive 3% and the remaining 2% will go to the municipality or county where the facility is located.

Davis said if passed, the bills will bring Alabama more than a lottery.

“This is much more than a lottery,” Davis said. “People really need to study and understand what this will do in the state of Alabama. It’s culture-changing legislation for generations. The State would now be in the business of legalizing gaming which normalizes a known, destructive and addictive behavior. The availability of gambling will tempt many more people to participate. A certain number of those will become addicted and there’s lots of negative consequences that come from addiction.”

To find contact information for Alabama Senators, visit