Sports Betting

Chris Blackshear Says Alabama Sports Betting Bill Needs A ‘Miracle Of Biblical Proportion’ To Pass

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Chris Blackshear Says Alabama Sports Betting Bill Needs A 'Miracle Of Biblical Proportion' To Pass

Republican Rep. Chris Blackshear said it would take a “miracle of Biblical proportion” to get the Alabama sports betting bill to pass in the Senate in the secession’s final two days. 

Republican Rep. Chris Blackshear said the Alabama House, Senate approved different versions of the sports betting bill

“I just hope the senators that voted no and couldn’t get on board take time to drive around the state and see for themselves, the problems we have in all 67 counties,” Blackshear said Wednesday.

Blackshear, the bill sponsor, believes gambling legislation remains stalled in the Alabama Senate because Senate members are against regulated approved forms of sports betting. 

The House and Senate essentially approved different versions of the bill. The House plan would have allowed a lottery, sports betting, and up to 10 casinos in the state. The Senate scaled back that proposal.

Since then, the measure’s supporters have been unable to break a stalemate in the state Senate after the bill initially failed by one vote last week. 

The Alabama House of Representatives voted 72-29 for the conference committee proposal.

A total of 63 votes were required to win approval in the 105-member chamber. 

However, the measure failed by one vote in the Senate, where 21 votes were required.

Gambling supporters pushed for electronic games of chance at seven locations in the Cotton State

Although supporters remain optimistic in getting the bill back for a second vote, they also said it’s not a realistic outcome.

The stalled proposal would authorize a state lottery and allow “electronic games of chance” including slot machines, raffles, paper bingo, and video poker at seven locations. Table, card, and dice games would have still remained prohibited. 

Additionally, the bill would have authorized the Alabama educational lottery to be paper only.

Republican Sen. Garlan Gudger, a member of the conference committee, said Tuesday evening that the outlook seems dim. “I don’t think it’s coming back up,” Gudger said.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Andy Whitt, who led a group of legislators who worked on the legislation, said he remains confident.

“I always remain hopeful until the last day,” Whitt said. “It’s up to the Senate.”

Supporters were expecting the first public vote on gambling in 25 years. Voters in 1999 rejected a lottery proposed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman.

As of May 2024, a total of 38 states and Washington D.C. offer legalized sports betting in the U.S.