Could Federal Redistricting Case Help Alabama Lottery Efforts?

The attempt to bring a lottery to a public vote in Alabama came up one Senate vote short during the 2024 legislative session.

Some may be looking for which senator might flip their vote to advance lottery legislation. But, that might not be necessary.

Currently, there is a federal redistricting case under way. It contests the current state Senate district maps in two major cities.

Alleged racial gerrymandering could see these districts redrawn and subject to a special election.

Would that be enough to tip the scales for Alabama to finally allow lottery draw games and scratch tickets in the state?

Two ‘no’ senators could be impacted by redistricting in Alabama

The US Supreme Court has already ruled that Alabama’s legislature map is in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The federal court battle deals with the potential redraw of Alabama state Senate districts in Montgomery and Huntsville.

While it wouldn’t have any partisan impact on the Senate, it could possibly affect the lottery and gambling discussion.

Among districts in question to be redrawn, two featured Republican senators who voted “no” to HB151 during the legislative session. That was District 2’s Sen. Tom Butler and District 7’s Sam Givhan.

HB151 fell one vote shy of advancing through the Senate last month. It was a bill that would authorize a state lottery and bring limited forms of gambling to Alabama. It needed three-fifths approval from both the House and Senate to be put to a public vote.

A district redraw could lead to special elections, changing representation in the Senate.

However, the trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 12. Because of that, any kind of real changes to representation can’t occur until 2025 at the earliest.

Deuel Ross, Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told AL.com that any changes wouldn’t take place in 2024:

“We haven’t ruled out the possibility of asking for special elections after trial, but any such elections for the new Senate districts would occur in 2025 at the earliest.

“I cannot tell you that we will win and go for special elections I don’t know that. Even if we did, I don’t know if the court will schedule it for 2025. There are too many variables to say we’re having elections.”

Changes may not influence Alabama gambling bill

Though the gambling bill came down to a single vote in the Senate, the belief is the problem is greater than that. There’s still a lot of convincing and compromise for sports betting and casino gambling to get through in Alabama.

According to the report, senators are skeptical that a redraw would lead to any major changes to how the lottery and gambling legislation is viewed. Especially when you consider a special election may not even take place in the event of a redraw.

Legislators may still be divided on the gambling topic, but lottery appears to have a more unified appeal.

Sen. Arthur Orr, one of the ‘no’ votes last month, has publicly stated that he wants to see a solo lottery bill included in 2025 legislation.

Givhan, one of the senators whose district could be adjusted, told AL.com something similar:

“I don’t think we’ll see gambling next year unless it’s lottery only.”

 

Photo by SOMKID THONGDEE 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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