Alabama Retirees Plead For Gov. Ivey To Expedite Lottery, Gambling Tax

There are plenty of people in Alabama disappointed by the failure of a state lottery not being put to a public vote in 2024.

Now, add the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) to that list.

RSA CEO David Bronner recently pleaded to Gov. Kay Ivey to call a special session to bring the gambling discussion back to the table for this year.

The reason? To get more funding for RSA retirees.

In this month’s RSA’s The Advisor newsletter, Bronner insisted on additional revenue that could come from lottery draw games and other forms of gambling:

“Alabama needs new revenue. There have been no meaningful COLAs (cost of living adjustments) for RSA retirees in 18 years! There is no affordable healthcare coverage for nearly 200,000 Alabamians, many of whom are employed in low-paying positions.”

Alabama Lottery could add hundreds of millions in tax revenue

There is no question that tax revenue is one of the appeals of a state-run lottery.

That’s why 45 of the 50 states in the US have them in operation.

According to the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, the state is missing out on $270-$386 million in annual tax revenue. That’s just for the lottery. Added forms of gambling would bring in even more earnings.

Bronner believes that gaming is the only option for that revenue. In the June RSA newsletter, he discredits the ability to bring in added profits through property taxes:

“Anti-gaming folks might suggest increasing Alabama’s property taxes, which are the lowest in America, to replace this revenue, but this has been impossible to accomplish in the past. Additionally, this past session, the Legislature further limited property taxes by capping annual property tax assessments at 7%.”

Lottery and gaming bill comes up one vote short in Alabama

The Alabama public nearly got its opportunity to vote on a state lottery for the first time since 1999. However, the proposed legislation came up one vote shy in the state Senate.

The issue with the bill wasn’t in regards to a lottery. It was over casino expansion and sports betting, which the House and Senate couldn’t agree on.

Dating back to 2020, multiple public polls have shown that Alabama citizens are in support of a state-run lottery.

Bronner and the RSA are among those in agreement:

“With exceptional research and dedication, the Alabama House passed legal gaming for Alabama, while the Alabama Senate came within ‘one’ vote of allowing Alabama to vote on this issue. The current Alabama gaming situation is a legal mess and always has been due to the 1901 Constitution. Some counties have local gaming laws, while others, like Walker County, are like the Wild West of gaming. The House’s gaming legislation would have fixed this and, more importantly, would have brought in a new stream of revenue for the state.”

Bronner requested Ivey call a special session to address the matter. However, Ivey has told multiple media outlets in the state that she will not be doing so.

Lottery to be revisited in 2025

The lottery and gaming issue may be dead for 2024, but it is likely to be revisited next year.

State Senator Arthur Orr, one of the “no” votes on the gaming legislation, has stated he intends to bring lottery to the table in the 2025 legislative session.

Orr believes that lottery needs to be addressed separately from the other gambling forms. He spoke on the matter during The Dale Jackson Show last month:

“I think we need to come from a different perspective and start with the lottery, and that’d be it. If you talk piece-by-piece, we start with a lottery. That’s what the people are primarily interested in voting on, and that’s what we ought to address.”

 

Photo by vectorfusionart 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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