The Alabama Senate has passed a simplified lottery bill by a vote of 21-12 mere days after a separate bill failed to convince over concerns surrounding the installation of video lottery terminals in racetracks around the state.
Americans might be stringent on their gambling laws, but statistics don’t lie, most of them like the idea of winning life changing money for doing nothing much in return.
In 2014, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries dragged in $70.1 billion in sales. Not only does that make the lottery the most popular form of gambling in the US, but it’s also more than Americans spend on the combination of sports/books/games/movies/music.
But not every state has caught a whiff of the green. Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii don’t have a state lottery. Surprisingly, neither does the burgeoning casino states of Mississippi or Nevada. The final state that is lottery-less is Alabama, but moves are afoot to change all of that.
Less than a week ago, a lottery bill sponsored by State Sen. Jim McClendon failed to get the support of the Alabama Senate with 20 thumbs down as opposed to 11 thumbs up.
The lottery bill included legislation that would allow four dog tracks in the state to install a series of video lottery terminals (VLT). Also, 100% of the money earned through lottery sales would have gone directly into the state coffers.
The dust had barely settled before the Alabama Gov. himself, Robert Bentley, simplified the bill and presented it to the Senate. In a report by Al.com, it seems the last minute amendment suggested by Senate Majority Leader, Greg Reed, that would see 10% of the revenue syphoned towards the Education Trust and Medicaid, was enough of a shot in the arm to get the bill passed.
21 voted ‘Aye’.
12 voted ‘Nay.’
Bentley has predicted lottery sales will generate $225m in annual revenue for the state. It’s the first serious advancement for gambling legislation in Alabama. The bill will now pass before the House of Representatives in November, and if successful, head towards the pen of the Governor.