Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to review Senate’s gambling proposal to ensure it’s a “good deal” for the state

Governor Kay Ivey announced that she is currently assessing the gambling package recently passed by the Senate to determine if it is “a good deal” for Alabama.

“I am pleased the Senate advanced these bills and that the legislative process will continue. I will be thoroughly reviewing the latest versions to ensure what goes to the people is a good deal for the state,” Ivey told 1819 News.

The Senate approved the constitutional amendment HB 151 on Thursday with a narrow margin of one vote above the required threshold of 21, passing by 22-11. Accompanying enabling legislation, HB 152, also passed by the same margin. State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) spearheaded both bills in the Senate.

Under the amended Senate plan, substitute amendments entail the implementation of a statewide lottery and a mandate for the governor to negotiate a gambling compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI). Notably, the Senate’s version does not incorporate provisions for sports betting, online gambling, or the establishment of non-PCI new casinos, in contrast to the House’s version.

The proposed constitutional amendment is slated for a vote in a special election on September 10 as per the Senate’s plan. This diverges from the original plan to coincide with the general election in November.

The Senate’s revised constitutional amendment also includes authorizing pari-mutuel wagering, including historical horse racing at the racetracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon, Mobile, an additional location in Greene County, at the existing bingo halls in Houston County, and the town of White Hall in Lowndes County.

It would also require the Legislature to establish a law enforcement division within the Alabama Gambling Commission to police lottery games and other gambling activities and eliminate unlawful gambling activities.

Governor Ivey had previously expressed her preference for the gambling legislation passed by the House. The Senate bill will now head back to the House for consideration since it differs from the amendment they passed in February. Both the House and Senate are taking a spring break during this week.