Tennessee border towns could feel crunch from possible Alabama lottery

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 8:19 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Tenn. (WAFF) - Tennessee lottery tickets are getting cut for Alabama players.

Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, filed a bill that could change that.

House Bill 418, if passed, would create a lottery referendum for Alabamans to vote on. It carries 70 co-signers and has bipartisan support.

While it may be popular in Montgomery, border towns in Tennessee could lose money.

Roughly a dozen stores in Admore, Tennessee tout a lottery that brings customers north.

Tracy Williams works TnT Beer and Tobacco, just feet from the state line. She said roughly half of the stores’ customers are from Alabama.

“We have groups that come in from like Cullman, they pack up one day, take a road trip and play in here for a few hours,” she said.

She said an Alabama lottery could hurt the local economy.

“Any of them here right here on the state line would take a hit,. because like I said over half of our customer base is Alabama,” she said.

Down the road, Ardmore Tobacco and Deli owner Jack Patel said his business is diversified and could carry on.

“It’s not just lottery. I’m depending on my cigarettes, my beer, and groceries and soda and stuff like that," he said.

Jack and Tracy are Alabama residents.

They said they don’t hope the lottery passes, but if it does, they could support the extra state funding.

Clouse estimates the lottery would bring in $167 million each year, with half going Pre-K support and the other half for scholarships.

Video lottery terminals would not be allowed.

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