Sports Betting

Alabama Sports Betting Bill Closes Legislative Session Without Final Vote

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Alabama Sports Betting Bill Closes Legislative Session Without Final Vote

The Alabama House of Representatives closed out the 2024 legislative session Thursday without a final vote after holding up the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget in efforts of reaching a compromise on the now-dead sports betting bill.

Revised Alabama sports betting bill would have authorized a statewide lottery, slot machines

The House had delayed voting on the ETF budget while House legislators attempted to negotiate a compromise with the Senate over legalized gambling, which the Senate rejected by one vote last week.

The bill would have allowed a lottery, sports betting, and up to 10 casinos with slot machines and table games. In the end, the Senate approved a stricter version that only included a lottery, dog tracks, and other sites to have machines where players can bet on replays of horse races.

A conference committee proposed a compromise that would have authorized a statewide lottery and slot machines at seven locations in the state. While it was approved in the House, the Senate rejected it.

“It was something that there weren’t votes in the Senate to approve,” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed said of the conference committee proposal. “So that’s where we are.”

House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said that House members attempted one final effort for a compromise to legalize sports betting in Alabama on Thursday. However, he and the other bill’s supporters were unsuccessful.

“I think there was some ideas of maybe they could get something for the people,” Ledbetter said. “That’s kind of what they were trying to do. And, when they [saw] it wasn’t going to happen, it [was] time to move on. That was kind of it. I mean, it wasn’t a major push. It was just something that they seen some opportunities, and certainly, we listened to those and give that a chance to look at it, but it just wasn’t possible.”

“We talked about it. As I said, we’ve passed it out twice; we could have passed it again, but, you know, it just wasn’t meant to be in this session at this time,” he added.

ETF, General Funds Budgets were approved by the legislature

Although the Alabama sports betting bill was rejected, the ETF and General Fund Budgets were approved by the legislature this year. Gov. Kay Ivey praised passage of the ETF budget.

“Ensuring every Alabama student receives a quality education is my number one priority, and I am proud we are once again, for a sixth straight year, investing a record amount in education,” Ivey said.

“I am proud we are jumpstarting priority projects like the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences. We are giving more Alabama families the ability to choose the school that best suits their child’s needs through my education savings account program. We are ensuring students are protected by investing in their mental health care and in the safety of our schools.”

Since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed in 2018 by the Supreme Court, a total of 38 states and Washington D.C. offer some form of sports betting. Just a few states in the South and West have not passed any domestic sports betting laws.

Perhaps Alabama and Texas will join the legalized states in the future. A sports betting bill falling short by a single vote is gut-wrenching for sportsbooks and gamblers.