Alabama Lottery Bill Fails Even With Sports Betting Stripped

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A proposal that once included Alabama sports betting and moved the state toward a lottery has failed.

The Alabama legislature adjourned Thursday night without Senate passage of HB 151 and HB 152, bills that legalized an Alabama Lottery. The issue also would have needed voter approval at a special election in August.

The package of bills began the session in the House and included legalized Alabama sports betting. The Senate stripped the legislation of sports betting, and the issue was not included in a conference committee compromise.

What happened in Alabama?

Alabama is one of five states without a lottery. Lawmakers have proposed a lottery nearly every year since 1999, the last time it was up for a statewide vote. 

In recent years, multiple packages have emerged from the Senate but fell flat in the House. This year looked a bit different, with those Senate bills informing a House attempt that included online sports betting and full casino gaming.

While the House passed the lottery package, 70-32 and 67-31, the Senate stripped large pieces of the proposal out, including sports betting and casino gaming. A conference committee pieced together a final attempt:

Senate falls flat

Following the conference committee, the House again passed the gambling package. 

As the creation of a lottery would amend the state constitution, the legislation required a 60% majority in each chamber. Back in the Senate, the conference committee proposal failed by one vote.

Sen. Greg Albritton, an author of previous Alabama gambling expansion proposals, predicted the Senate hurdles heading into the session.

“I hope [that it passes],” Albritton said. “I can guarantee this, though: if we get a good piece of legislation, it will be difficult. As we make one person happy, we’ll make three mad. It will be a difficult move.”

Alabama sports betting future 

Gov. Kay Ivey has been a supporter of gambling legalization in Alabama. Ivey commissioned the Study Group on Gambling Policy in 2020, which concluded Alabama could generate up to $800 million a year through casinos and sports betting. 

The expansion was a priority for Ivey and House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter. Ivey spoke to the press about the issue Thursday and said she would not call a special session on the issue.

“Why would I do that?” Ivey said, per “They cannot come to a consensus among themselves. Why would I spend the time and effort and money on a special session? 

“Every year, it’s always wait till next year. I think people are tired of waiting until the next time.”