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An Alabama lawmaker has said he will try again next year to legalize a lottery in the state.
It comes as residents of Alabama had to travel to neighboring states to try and win the estimated $810 million Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday.
Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, said he would work with members of the state House of Representatives and the governor’s office to reach consensus on the games before the next legislative session, according to WDHN-TV. . Alabama lawmakers will next meet in March 2023.
During the 2022 session in Montgomery, Albritton’s bill to expand gaming, including a state-run lottery and up to five casinos, stalled in the legislature. Lawmakers adjourned in April without legalizing a lottery or approving any casinos.
Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, supported giving Alabama residents a vote on statewide gambling expansion.
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Odds improve after the election
Gaming legislation, which includes sports betting, may have a better chance of being approved in Alabama after the Nov. 8 election, political analyst Steve Flowers told the broadcaster.
“The reason it didn’t pass or wasn’t addressed last year was because it was an election year,” he said. “The first year of the four-year term is when things like this are addressed, so that’s what makes it more likely (2023) will be the year.”
Albritton noted that Alabama residents already gamble in neighboring states where betting is legal, costing Alabama tax revenue for state programs.
“I think it’s recognized that there is a need for Alabama to take control of this industry,” he said.
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Legal gambling in neighboring states
Casino games and sports betting are legal in Mississippi, Alabama’s neighbor to the west.
In Tennessee, which also shares a border with Alabama, mobile sports betting is legal. Tennessee has no brick-and-mortar casinos or land-based sports betting
Currently, legal sports betting only occurs in four of the 10 states with universities participating in the Southeastern Conference. These states are Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Sports betting is legal in Florida but has been suspended following litigation.
Throughout the South, interest in football betting is high, including college football betting.
Two Alabama college teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers, compete in the SEC.
Legislative efforts to expand gambling have recently failed across the region, including in North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Texas. An effort to legalize offsite mobile sports betting failed this year in Mississippi.
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