‘Clean’ lottery bill moving forward in Alabama legislature

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On the heels of the failure this week of a gambling bill that would bring both casinos and a lottery to Alabama, another state senator still has hopes of at least making a lottery a reality in Alabama.

State Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, has filed what he calls a ‘clean’ lottery bill. It would only create a state lottery and not offer casino gambling of any kind.

“Folks in my district aren’t interested in a casino but they are interested in a lottery.  And in fact, they’ll say that must be a dumb bunch down there in Montgomery that they can’t offer a lottery-like everybody else does,” McClendon said.

Currently, 44 states offer some form of a lottery. McClendon’s proposal would create a commission to oversee the lottery and split proceeds equally among the state’s general fund and education budgets. 

But it would not create a standalone education lottery to fund scholarships.

“If it’s an urgent matter that needs some money, if it’s a constitutional amendment, the legislature can’t respond to that.  The way this bill is written, the legislature will decide every year what needs the money,” McClendon said.

McClendon knows some in his own party will oppose the bill on moral grounds but believes if the people of Alabama want a lottery, they need to do their part to get it.

“If the folks back home contact their senator and tell them to vote for this bill, we may get a shot at it,” McClendon said.

If the lottery proposal makes it through the legislature, it still must be approved by the voters of Alabama.

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