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Alabama reduces gambling laws with exclusion of sports betting

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Alabama’s senate passed two bills to legalise state-regulated gaming and lottery, but not sports betting.

Alabama legislators passed HB151 in February. In its initial form, HB151 was intended to legalise retail and online betting on sports as well as a lottery in the state and casinos for areas that offer bingo games. In contrast, HB152 was intended to establish a gaming and lottery commission in order to regulate the gambling industry.

HB151, however, stalled at the Senate. Sports betting and casinos have been removed. The amended HB151 was passed on Thursday by a 22-11 vote, achieving the required 21 votes. Bill HB152 was also approved.

Lotteries are still included in the bills. The bills also authorize the Governor to negotiate a gaming compact with Poarch Band of Creek Indians to regulate gambling activities on tribal lands. The PBCI is responsible for the operation of three casinos currently located in Alabama.

Senator Greg Albritton believes that the necessary changes will enable Alabama to “control” the gambling industry.

Now, the legislation is sent to be approved by the House of Representatives. If it advances from there, in September 2024 the electorate will vote to finalise legalisation.

If the House does not approve of all the changes, then the bill will be sent to a Conference Committee to try to reach a compromise.

The bills that include

These bills allow pari-mutuel betting with an additional tax between 24 and 32 percent.

Four racetracks and one additional site in Greene County will be able to offer pari-mutuel betting. Pari-mutuel betting would be allowed at two existing bingo halls.

The PBCI will also be able to offer bingo and casino games, including sports betting, on the tribal lands.

Alabama Benefits of Taxation

Previously, it was expected that the expansion of gambling would bring around $1.2bn in revenue to the state

The fiscal notes for HB152 state that the legalisation lottery can bring net revenues of $305.6m ($237.7m/EUR279.2m/PS237.7m) or $379.4m per year.

The removal of the casino will result in a loss between $315m and $492m (estimated) for net gaming revenues. In contrast, the inclusion of sports bets would have generated approximately $15m to $41.5m NGR.

Chris Blackshear, a representative of the House, stated previously that increased gambling would bring $1.2bn in revenue to the State. A compact between the PBCI and $300m would account for $300m.

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