Speaker of the Alabama House Mac McCutcheon revealed that local legislature will likely consider lottery addition to the state’s gambling sector.
Currently, Alabama is one of the five states which do not offer any form of lottery, along with Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Alaska. It was in August when lawmakers in Mississippi passed a comprehensive gambling bill, leaving Alabama surrounded by states where lotteries are legal.
According to Mr. McCutcheon, lottery expansion combined with the US Supreme Court’s decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting meant that Alabama legislators could be preparing for another vote. According to media reports, the House Speaker explained that a lottery bill will be seen in the first legislative session of the state. Still, he could not provide details about the expected lottery bill structure and the proceeds that could be expected as a result of a potential addition of lottery gambling.
Still, the House Speaker shared that he would not be leading any efforts related to the legalization of the lottery. He further added that his previous comments on the matter were not based on any concrete knowledge on his part but on a general feeling.
“As far as I am aware, no lottery bills have been drafted, pre-filed, or even discussed in any detain among members.” – Mac McCutcheon, Alabama House Speaker for WHNT News 19
Lottery Bill Could Be Unveiled in Alabama’s New Legislative Session
A lottery bill was last unveiled to local voters in 1999. The education lottery proposed by former Governor Don Siegelman was rejected at the time by state’s voters.
The most recent lottery piece of legislation which was introduced to Alabama’s legislature was set to give 75% of Alabama’s lottery proceeds to the state general fund, and the remaining 25% of the proceeds – to the Education Trust Fund. The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee gave the green light to the measure, which, however, did not manage to pass.
At the time when Mr. McCutcheon first made a comment about the possible addition to lottery legalization efforts in 2019, he shared that it still remains to be seen what structure such a lottery would have and whether it would redirect its proceeds towards Alabama’s general fund or education fund. He also noted that if there is a lottery bill unveiled, it must make these issues absolutely clear, so that Alabama voters have no doubt about the addition of this form of gambling.
Seeing a handful of reports re: an Alabama lottery. I spoke with House Speaker McCutcheon earlier; he says there's a possibility of a lottery bill being filed (which is common) but that GOP leadership is not "promoting a lottery" (which a bill would need to pass). #alpolitics
— Brian Lyman (@lyman_brian) September 24, 2018
As Mr. McCutcheon explained for WHNT News 19, a potential lottery bill should not be confused with other interests related to gambling. He further shared that in case that a lottery is proposed to both Alabama legislature and the state’s voters, it should be a state-wide lottery.
Despite the fact that it still remains to be seen whether a lottery bill proposition will emerge in the new legislative session, it seems that neither gubernatorial candidate would block the issue. For the time being, both Democrat Walt Maddox and Republican Kay Ivey seem to agree on the legalization of a lottery for the state of Alabama. Back in February 2018, Maddox unveiled his education lottery plan and continued to call for the lottery ban to be lifted as part of the state’s efforts to overcome its ongoing budgetary hurdles. Ivey, on the other hand, has also backed the idea of a lottery establishment in the state.