FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. – Powerball and Mega Millions numbers are skyrocketing — totaling more than $1 billion in winnings. With no lottery in Alabama, some residents have driven over the state line to take part.
“I came all the way from South Huntsville up to just across the state line to buy lottery tickets to win a billion dollars,” ticket buyer Chris Bolte said.
He is not alone. Parking lots near the state line are filled with cars with Alabama tags.
Gambling could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Alabama, according to the state’s gambling policy study group.
“Instead of bringing our money here, and spending it on Tennessee, we need to spend it on Alabama,” ticket buyer Tamara said.
State House Minority leader, Rep. Anthony Daniels, said it is an argument supporters have been making for years, but he said it’s more complicated and details are the key to a bill’s success.
“The general fund funds prisons and Medicaid and other things. You have to clearly define what those dollars are going to go towards. I cannot in good faith vote on something where I don’t know necessarily where the dollars are going,” Rep. Daniels said.
Alabamians who would support the gambling industry in the state have some ideas.
“Schools, roadwork, you know, even if it’s helping out veterans and others,” ticket buyer Howard Agnew said.
“College tuitions and stuff like that,” ticket buyer Jim Pryor said.
“Education would definitely benefit and so would the infrastructure if they put some into that,” Bolte agreed.
Rep. Daniels said he expects the conversation on legalizing gambling in the state of Alabama to continue as soon as the next session’s start in February.