Alabama sports betting apps could become reality under legislation lawmakers are exploring after returning to Montgomery for the 2023 session.
AL sports betting is one of several gaming-related changes that John Pappas, GeoComply senior vice president of government and public affairs, spoke with lawmakers about on their first day of session Monday.
“I expect we’re going to see different bills introduced this session,” Pappas told LSR. “There were a lot of good questions, though I wouldn’t say I walked away feeling any particularly special momentum this year.”
Multiple gaming changes expected
Lawmakers attempted to legalize sports betting in Alabama every year since 2019. The Senate passed a sports betting bill in 2021, though it stalled in the House on the last day of session. Similar efforts from Sen. Greg Albritton saw less traction in 2022.
Pappas said lawmakers also discussed creating a lottery, as well as expanding the number of casinos in the state, of which there are currently three operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Alabama is one of five states without a state lottery, which lawmakers have attempted to establish nearly every year since a ballot measure failed in 1999.
Each change would require a constitutional amendment, which needs a two-thirds supermajority to pass.
Earlier this week, Albritton told WAFF 48 that he expects around five gaming bills this session, which he plans to combine under one measure. Albritton did not return LSR‘s request for comment.
Demand for Alabama sports betting
Alabamians attempted to access legal sportsbooks 797,000 times during the 2022 NFL season, according to GeoComply data obtained by LSR.
More than 66% of those were tied to sports betting apps in Tennessee, Alabama’s only border state with legal online sports betting.
“Many of the lawmakers admitted they have friends that go and cross state lines,” Pappas said.
Governor supports AL sports betting
If a bill can muster its way through the legislature, it would likely have the support of Gov. Kay Ivey.
She expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in a December press conference.
A study commissioned by Ivey found legal sports betting could raise $10 million annually for the state.