Alabama Introduces Sports Betting Bill

Alabama lawmakers propose a bill that would bring sports betting to the state.

Representatives Mike Rogers and Mary Moore have introduced Bill 315 in the Alabama House that permits professional and collegiate sports gambling to occur inside the state.

Individuals inside the Alabama state lines will be able to bet on-site and via a mobile app if the bill becomes law.

The bill would also create the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission in order to regulate the betting market at seven locations already established around the state.

The Commission would be in charge of overseeing sports wagering at the seven locations, with the establishment to be charged $100,000 licensing fee that would last for five years.

HB315 sets the tax rate at 10% for all adjusted gross sports revenue and the tax is collected by the state weekly.

On the heels of a similar bill that was introduced in Louisiana, Alabama looks to join the handful of states that have already passed legislation for both onsite and mobile sports wagering.

The Alabama Legislative Session ends on June 18th, giving lawmakers less than 11 weeks to turn the sports wagering measure into law.

Does the Alabama bill have a chance to pass?

If you look at the recent history in Alabama of lawmakers trying and failing to pass measures to legalize daily fantasy sports, then the outlook is grim.

After several attempts to get a daily fantasy sports bill to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature, legislators believe that dream is no longer viable.

In 2016, attorney general Luther Strange drove companies like FanDuel and DraftKings out of the state with a series of cease-and-desist letters.

At a press conference, Strange said, “As Attorney General, it is my duty to uphold Alabama law, including the laws against illegal gambling. Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they operate legally under Alabama law. However, paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law.”

The denial of the DFS bill left Alabama as one of only nine states that do not allow some form of online fantasy sports in the United States.

Critics in the state that argue against sports betting lean on the same reasons that most groups that oppose gambling use as their platform.

Those reasons include a fear of addiction to the populace, a consensus rejection of gambling by faith-based groups, and the fact that it simply isn’t worth the headache for the state for the small amount of revenue it generates.

One of the biggest opposition groups in the state is the Alabama Citizens Action Program.

Funded by the state’s Southern Baptists coalition, the ACAP is a strong force in keeping gambling out of Alabama.

“The pro-gambling forces are always pushing for more and more, and they always use the ‘other state around you’ as an excuse that other states are going doing it so why can’t we?” said Joe Godfrey, the executive director of ACAP.

“The reality is that the whole thing is just a way to make money for the gambling bosses. They are the big winners.”

For residents of Alabama who love sports betting, it looks like they’ll continue to be forced to drive to neighboring Mississippi, where wagering on games has been legal since last year.

However, if you reside in New Jersey and want to bet on sports you can do so today, at one of these sportsbooks:

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