Sports Betting

Will the Alabama House and Senate ever reach an agreement to make sports gambling legal?

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Alabama House and Senate pic

In Alabama, there are no casinos, sports gambling, or lottery tickets sold. All are still illegal in the state as lawmakers work diligently to change that. Recently, House Bills 151 and 152 were overwhelmingly passed by the House. 

However, the Senate disagreed with the lower chamber and stripped casinos and Alabama sports betting from the Bill. This is now the first time that lawmakers have tried to legalize sports gambling in the state. Senator Greg Albritton told reporters that he expects a conference committee to be created to try and work out differences between the House and Senate. 

May 20 is the final day of Alabama’s current legislative session. There are less than 10 legislative days left. Is that enough time for a committee to meet and help iron out the differences in House Bills 151 and 152? The House has appointed three members to the conference committee. However, the Senate needs to still agree to this conference and send three members of their own.

Alabama State Representative Chris Blackshear is pessimistic about House Bills 151 and 152 being passed

The Alabama Senate wanted to make several changes to the House Bilsl 151 and 152. They essentially wanted to strip the Bill of a prop specs lottery and sports gambling movement in the state. Representative Chris Blackshear critiques the proposed changes the Senate wanted to make after the House had to non-concur. Blackshear is concerned that the differences between what the House and Senate have proposed will be too drastic. Here’s what he told reporters from 1819 News last week.

We’ll pull it out of the basket, go to conference, and then we’ll start working on it, Blackshear told reporters from 1819 News, “My concern is that we have such huge differences between what the House passed and what the Senate passed and then where that middle ground is. We’re going to have to get a 60% vote in both houses again. All of those are uphill battles. It’s going to be difficult.”

Chris Blackshear is right when he notes that House Bills 151 and 152 have an uphill battle to be passed. First, he noted the major differences the House and Senate have in the proposed Bills. Finding a common ground will be challenging. On top of that, they’ll need 60% of the votes in both houses again. Will House Bills 151 and 152 be legalized?

Governor Kay Ivey is a key factor in House Bills 151 and 152 becoming law

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is a longtime supporter of sports gambling and has worked in the past to try and get it legalized. Back in 2020, she created a study for Alabama sports betting. That information could then be presented to lawmakers as evidence of why sports betting and a state lottery should be legal in Alabama. 

A signature from Ivey would give voters a chance this fall to have their say on the matter. One revision the Senate made to House Bills 151 and 152 was it being voted on in September and not November at the general election. Earlier in Alabama’s current session. Ivey said she was unsure if she would sign the amended version of House Bills 151 and 152. 

Senate minority leader Bobby Singleton noted some Republicans do not want to vote on gambling the same day they’re voting for the Presidential election. Singleton is optimistic that an agreement will be reached between the House and the Senate. He believes they need to come up with a “hybrid” proposal that suits both sides wants and needs.