Despite ‘No’ Vote, Alabama Sen. Orr Wants Lottery Part Of 2025 Legislation

An Alabama Lottery won’t be happening in 2024.

That much we know.

However, it’s clear that there is support for lottery legislation in the state, both among lawmakers and the public.

The attempt to bring lottery draw games and instants to Alabama this year got lost in the shuffle over debates about sports betting and casino gambling.

One state senator who voted against the bill, Arthur Orr, recently said during a radio interview that a lottery should be the main focus of lawmakers in 2025:

“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.”

Orr believes Alabama House got too greedy

The debate over HB151 and HB152 has been well documented.

The Alabama House first passed bills that would authorize a lottery, along with sports betting and up to 10 casinos.

However, the Senate stripped down the bills. It removed sports betting and put in fewer casinos, while also authorizing a lottery. The House rejected the Senate’s changes, looking for the bill to be returned to its original form.

Speaking on The Dale Jackson Show, Orr said that is where he took opposition to the legislation:

“(The Senate) sent down a very stripped down bill and said, ‘If you amend it, it won’t sustain, it won’t hold if you send it back.’ Lo and behold, they sent back a much broader gaming component, which included electronic gaming, which is ‘Katy bar the door.’ That was a problem, even though they’d been told it would be a problem. They decided to push the envelope, I guess.”

Compromised bill didn’t do enough for Orr

The dispute between the House and Senate led to a bipartisan conference committee attempting to find a middle ground.

That compromised bill would authorize a state lottery and include electronic games of chance at seven locations throughout the state.

The House passed the new bill, but the Senate came up one vote shy of advancing the legislation.

Orr was among the ‘no’ votes:

“I don’t know what the House was thinking when the Senate sent down a lottery bill, continuing the status quo. The only rub I had with continuing the status quo was they expanded it to Lowndes and Houston County. Otherwise, it’s something I could have gotten on board with. But, they bootstrap two counties that don’t have video bingo in their constitution and in their local constitutional amendments. That was what decided it for me.”

Orr wants Alabama Lottery on the table in 2025

Despite voting ‘no’ to the compromised bills, Orr is interested in getting lottery back in the discussion for the 2025 legislative session.

The key for him is that it be a bill that focuses largely on just a lottery in the state and not mixing in sports betting and other forms of gambling:

“First, (lottery) ought to be at the top of the list without all these fellow travelers and hangers on, other boxcars on the train, so we can take care of the people’s business. That’s what I’m looking to do in the ’25 session… Let’s focus on the lottery and take care of job one, and not allow these other wish lists to get added to it and make the ultimate product unpalatable.”

Orr understands that the public wants to vote on having a lottery in the state. The other gambling forms, he believes, are just too complex to handle right now:

“I would submit as well that people want to vote on a lottery and that ought to be part of it, without getting into all the expansion and other issues that come with it. Let’s just take care of what we need to take care of.”

 

Photo by Phillip Rawls / AP

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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