Alabama Lottery Bill Dies With Single Vote Needed In Senate

Editors note: This story was updated on May 10 to reflect the end of the Alabama legislative session for 2024. The state’s lottery/gambling bill failed by one vote in the Senate, as there was no additional final vote.

As more days pass and Alabama legislators still can’t find a way to agree on a gambling bill, there’s one primary question many onlookers have.

“Why not have a separate lottery bill?”

After Tuesday saw the Senate come up one vote shy of advancing the gambling legislation to a public vote, nothing new has changed over the last few days.

Now, some notable political figures are voicing their feelings that Alabama needs to pass a “clean” lottery bill and leave the other gambling issues for another day.

Alabama remains just one of five states without a lottery. That leaves residents to venture outside of the state border to purchase their lottery draw games and instant win games.

Unfortunately, they will have to continue doing so for at least the next year, as the 2024 legislative session concluded on Thursday with no final vote on the proposed lottery bill. According to the Associated Press, Republican Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed said:

“It was something that there weren’t votes in the Senate to approve. So that’s where we are.”

Alabama Senate doesn’t address lottery bill on Thursday

The Senate is down to its final few days of the 2024 legislative session. However, Thursday didn’t see it bring the gambling legislation to a vote.

On Tuesday, HB151, which would authorize a lottery and limited forms of gambling, came up one vote short of getting the three-fifths approval. It had a 20-15 vote, but needed 21 in favor.

HB152 deals with regulations and taxation of the different forms of gambling. The Senate didn’t vote on that bill Tuesday, as it won’t advance without the other passing first.

The Senate is able to carry over the bill due to a majority voting in favor, but it’s not likely to see another vote unless one of the “no” votes is convinced to change their stance.

Issues that are keeping the bills from being advanced largely center around casino gambling and funding concerns. Authorizing a lottery in itself is an issue with bipartisan support from more than three-fifths of state lawmakers.

The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, May 7.

Donald Trump Jr. chimes in on lottery legislation

Social media has been abuzz over the lottery topic in Alabama.

Many residents are voicing their frustration that a public vote on a lottery appears to be held back by other gambling topics.

The lottery issue got a bit of a bigger spotlight on Thursday when Donald Trump Jr. posted the following on X (formerly Twitter):

Interestingly enough, the official X account of Alabama Democrats voiced a similar frustration as Trump Jr.:

It should be noted that HB151 is not a “clean” lottery bill. A “clean” bill means that the legislation only includes language authorizing a lottery. That is not the case with HB151 and HB152.

Senators defend hold up, Gov. Ivey wants it passed

Senators were pressed on just why the lottery couldn’t be placed into its own bill on Thursday.

Alabama State Senate President Pro Tem, Greg Reed (R-Jasper), told AL.com about why that wasn’t possible:

“There are a lot of elements here. I think the people of Alabama understand many of those (issues). Some of those, maybe they do not. There are a lot of stakeholders in the process. The most important stakeholder, to me, is the people of Alabama. If we bring something to the Senate floor as we did, we have to feel confident about it, we have to make sure it’s exactly what we want and what we think is best.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is ready to see her residents get the opportunity to vote on a lottery, as she told reporters on Wednesday:

“My position has remained unchanged. It’s time for voters of Alabama to have their say. Legislators have had their say all along, so now it’s time for the Alabama voters to vote. Let’s get this done.”

Should the Senate ultimately find that one additional vote, a special election would be held on Aug. 20. It would mark the first time since 1999 that Alabama residents have had an opportunity to vote on having a lottery.

 

Photo by Mehaniq via Shutterstock

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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