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Governor Kay Ivey upset after Alabama Gaming Expansion Compromise falls short by one single vote

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Governor Kay Ivey Alabama pic

Since 1999, Alabama has failed in nearly every legislative session to get gaming expanded in the Cotton State. It’s been an ongoing struggle for the last 25 years. Last week, a gaming package compromise reached by the Conference Committee was one vote shy of the three-fifths majority needed. 

Their committee was made of three state senators and three house delegates. They recommended that Alabama create a state lottery and allow electronic gaming machines as pari-mutuel gaming facilities. Additionally, it would have allowed the Poach Band of Creek Indians to transform their bingo-based casinos into Las Vegas-style slot machines and live dealer games. However, the Senate was not able to get the three-fifths majority and the legislation stalls out once again. Certainly not the first time this has happened in Alabma.

Governor Kay Ivey is upset the vote fell short by one single vote

Earlier this month, the House of Delegates in Alabama quickly passed the gaming compromise. The package then stalled in the Senate and is not making it any further in 2024. Governor Kay Ivey was a key supporter of gaming expansion in Alabama, specifically a lottery. After the legislation failed to move past the Senate once again, she had this comment about not calling a special session.

Why would I do that?” Ivey asked. “They cannot come to a consensus among themselves. Why would I spend the time, effort, and money on a special session? Every year, it’s always wait until next year. I think people are tired of waiting.” 

During the vote in the Senate, Greg Albritton was a surprising “no”. He initially sponsored the bill that wanted to introduce gaming to Alabama. Additionally, Albritton was on the six-member conference committee. Despite all of that, he decided to vote no last week. Albritton claimed he was overruled by the committee. He also noted that Poach Creek Indians would have been hurt in this potential compromise. They would be allowed to implement slots at racetracks but not the expansion of a fourth casino. 

While Alabama is a deeply conservative state, some of its views are starting to change. A survey by the Alabama Daily News stated that 71% of likely voters “strongly” or “somewhat” support additional forms of gambling. Despite that information, Alabama is just not ready to have gaming expansion happen. Lawmakers need to have a compromise for the bill to even have a chance of being voted on by the public.