MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — There’s a new push to get the public behind a constitutional amendment to bring full-blown gambling and a lottery to Alabama.
The Alabama Track Owners Association has released a commercial asking for voters to contact their lawmakers to pass a comprehensive gambling bill that includes casinos and a lottery.
“So, the campaign was initiated to go directly to the voters and ask them to call their legislators and to tell them they want a comprehensive gaming and lottery bill passed, now,” said Robert Kennedy, Jr., spokesperson for the Alabama Track Owners Association.
A comprehensive gambling bill passed the Senate in the last session but ran out of time to be voted on in the House. Kennedy said there are many competing interests when it comes to gaming, but believes it’s important the dog tracks are at the center of the conversation.
“Casinos should be anchored to physical locations and those physical locations should be where the dog tracks are. We believe this is the best solution for the state of Alabama because we believe this will increase the most tax revenue for the state,” he said.
And it’s the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that CBS 42 political analyst Steve Flowers said will eventually get a gambling plan through the legislature.
“If you got to give Dothan a casino, give it to them to get it passed,” Flowers said. “If you’ve got to let somebody have something. Legislation is the art of compromise. But there is a lot of money to be had and I think most of these tracks will be included in the legislation.”
Kennedy said his organization would like to see the issue of gambling addressed in a special session and not wait until lawmakers return for the 2022 regular legislative session in January.
If approved by lawmakers, the bill would then go to Alabama voters.