Alabama lottery bill advances to Senate

Alabama lottery bill advances to Senate
Tuesday, the Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted 6-5 to pass the Alabama lottery proposal out of committee.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A lottery proposal is heading to the full Alabama Senate for a vote after it passed 6-5 in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee Tuesday.

Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, is the sponsor of the bill that would legalize a paper-based lottery. If the legislature approves, it would go to a statewide vote.

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said this proposal is a “clean” lottery.

“In the meetings I’ve had with caucus members they seem to want a simple bill. My meetings with House members, give us a simple version. To me that’s the most simple version we’ve got,” Marsh said.

According to the bill, it does not allow for video lottery terminals, casino-style gaming, or slot machines. The bill defines video lottery terminals as any electronic interactive game, machine, or device with a video screen and button, keys and a keyboard.

Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said this concerned him and that he did not want this bill to make the current machines at Greenetrack illegal.

He offered an amendment, which the committee approved, that would make all forms of bingo and pari-mutuel wagering excluded from the definition of video lottery terminal.

“What we want to do is give a protection so that I can continue to protect the jobs that we have in my community,” Singleton said.

He voted no against the bill because he said it did not include electronic machines.

“I think we need to really think this through and do a complete lottery that will grow and allow us to save the most amount of dollars that we possibly can for the state,” Singleton said.

It’s been 20 years since Alabamians got a chance to vote on a lottery. In 1999, voters said “No” by a vote of 54 percent to 46 percent.

Here is the vote count in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee:

Yes

Sen. Billy Beasley

Sen. Chris Elliott

Sen. Garland Gudger

Sen. Andrew Jones

Sen. Randy Price

Sen. Del Marsh

No

Sen. David Burkette

Sen. Tim Melson

Sen. David Sessions

Sen. Bobby Singleton

Sen. Rodger Smitherman

Marsh is the chairman of the committee and said he had anticipated more committee members voting for the bill. He said he does not know what the outlook in the Senate would be.

According to Albritton’s bill, the money from the lottery would first go toward administering and operating the Alabama lottery. The leftover money would then go to the Alabama Trust Fund to repay transfers made to the State General Fund in the fiscal years 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The bill states that half of the remaining money goes into the Alabama Trust Fund. The rest goes into the state General Fund.

The full Senate is expected to debate and possibly vote on the bill Thursday.

The bill would not allow for video lottery terminals as outlined in Sen. Jim McClendon’s lottery proposal. McClendon’s bill was not on the committee’s agenda.

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