Gambling Legislation

Alabama lawmaker wants tougher gambling laws

Alabama may consider joining the growing gambling ecosystem but will likely be more conservative

Alabama’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nathaniel Leadbetter, is proposing stricter laws on gambling in the state. Speaking at a Monday morning meeting at the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center, he touched on several topics, including the state’s recent proposed gaming bill.

Leadbetter says that better regulations need to be put in place because, right now, illegal gambling is overrunning the state. Individuals operating illegal gambling operations in other shops is a problem that he believes the state is close to solving.

“We got to clean it up because it’s bringing a lot of ill will in the state. I mean, we’ve been better off to try to clean it up, put a committee together to recognize what’s going on, and so we’ll see what they come up with,” said Leadbetter.

Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) has been designated with the task of drafting the gaming bill, which is expected to define the state’s gaming framework and address taxation and regulation. Current laws permit gaming only at casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and parimutuel horse racing tracks.

In order to amend the Alabama Constitution, gaming legislation must be approved by direct vote from state citizens. The legislature has a limited role of setting the voting parameters.

Alabama lawmakers have had several attempts at passing gambling legislation over the past two decades. However, Leadbetter’s recent comments suggest the state is newly committed to addressing the issues.

Gambling supporters, mainly in the Senate, have previously criticized House leaders for stalling past gaming bills, which were never brought up for a vote or received much support from leadership. However, with Leadbetter’s commitment, Alabama may finally be ready to resolve the debate so its citizens can decide.

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