Once again, the Alabama Senate finds itself face-to-face with another bill to legalize retail and online sports betting.

The Alabama Senate Tourism Committee yesterday approved SB 294, a bill to legalize a state lottery and allow for online and retail sports betting at several Alabama casinos. If approved by a three-fifths majority by members of the Alabama House and Senate, the constitutional amendment would then have to be approved by state voters in the upcoming November general election before becoming law.

The bill was introduced last week by Sen. Greg Albritton (R). Only a few meeting days remain in Alabama’s legislative session for the bill to be approved.

Bill heads to the Senate

If approved, the legislation would allow casino-style gaming and sports wagering operated only at sites in Jefferson County, Mobile County, Macon County, Green County, Jackson County or DeKalb County, and on lands held in trust for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians pursuant to a compact. Casinos on these properties would be able to offer retail sports betting and online sports betting through approved sportsbook app partnerships.

The bill is similar to one passed by the state Senate last year, SB 319, which ultimately stalled in the House.

The bill will create the Alabama Education Lottery and Gambling Commission to operate a state lottery and issue gambling licenses for casinos. Alabama is only one of five states in the country not to have a state lottery system. Proceeds from the lottery would be deposited in a lottery trust fund for education purposes and scholarship programs.

Five casinos may offer sports betting, table games

The bill will allow for casinos at existing dog tracks in the state. These locations are as follows:

  • Greenetrack in Greene County
  • Birmingham Race Course in Jefferson County
  • VictoryLand in Macon County
  • Mobile County Greyhound Racing Facility

A casino will also be allowed on lands held in trust for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in DeKalb County or Jackson County, pursuant to a compact agreement with Gov. Kay Ivey. Under the law, the three existing casinos of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians will also be allowed to offer table games.

The bill also allows for two smaller casinos facilities to offer electronic gambling machines.

Alabama voters roundly rejected a proposal from then-Gov. Don Siegelman to create a state lottery in 1999.