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March 15, 2021 Group Watch: New Bill Proposes Lottery, But No Casinos

Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) introduced a bill last week to propose a lottery only, what he calls a “clean” lottery bill. He believes (because people in his district have said as much) that the lottery-only approach is what people are most interested in when it comes to expanding gambling in Alabama. The bill is expected to be in committee next week. McClendon has tried lottery legislation more than once. Five years ago, his bill passed the Senate but did not get final approval after it was changed in the House. The legislature hasn’t approved a lottery bill since 1999, when voters rejected the plan by then-Governor Don Siegelman. McClendon said his current bill would set up a small commission to oversee a lottery that would include the multi-state games like Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as an Alabama lottery. McClendon proposes splitting the net revenue evenly between the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund, giving the legislature the flexibility to allocate the money where there is the most need; his bill calls for the  legislature to decide each year where the funds will go. He also noted that even without allowing casinos, some in his own party may still oppose bill, as they have moral issues with gambling in general.

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