After Alabama Governor Robert Bentley failed to include gambling revenue in his fiscal plan, on Monday, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh filed a bill this special session re-introducing lottery and casino legislation.
Although considering casino and lottery revenue for the state’s budget shortfall is fervently opposed by religious leaders in Alabama, business people in the community believe the people should have a chance to vote to allow lottery and casino gambling in the state.
As is stands, devices used for gambling are illegal in the state, which would mean that casinos in general are also prohibited. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama, legally operates the following casinos in Alabama Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore, Creek Casino Wetumpka at Hickory Ground in Wetumpka, and Creek Casino Montgomery (formerly Tallapoosa Entertainment Center) in Montgomery.
While religious leaders may disapprove of casino and lottery revenue, in 2003 Macon County voters approved of use of electronic bingo machines by an overwhelming majority.
In addition to what indicates widespread support from voters, the mayor of Birmingham, the state’s largest city, wanted to see the controversial Senate Bill 453 passed.
Instead of adding the bill to the ballot and allowing citizens to decide, the bill was dropped by Senator President Pro Tem, Del Marsh as the regular session expired. The bill would have granted regulated gaming at racetracks where pari-mutuel wagering is currently legal, and would have created an Alabama Lottery and Gaming Commission to regulate and administer gaming,
According to Representative Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills, any measure introduced in the special session would not provide any assistance for budget issues dealing with the 2015-2016 budget cycle.
Marsh introduced the 20 page bill Monday, the first day of the special legislative session.