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There is currently no legal sports betting market in Alabama, which comes as no surprise given they are one of the five states in the U.S. still without a lottery, their conservative stance against all forms of gambling forcing Heart of Dixie bettors to find other ways to place their bets.
That illicit market is a reality that Alabama lawmakers are being forced to confront thanks to the efforts of state Senator Greg Albritton, a Republican from Range who right now has three sports betting bills that he is considering introducing to his fellow state legislators this session.
It can be considered a relatively gutsy move given that the Alabama House has expressed their reluctance to pass such a measure this year, but that has not discouraged Sen. Albritton, who simply sees it as yet another challenge, telling Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal:
I’ve been told by House leadership, ‘don’t bring it up. Don’t do it. We’re not going to deal with it this year.’ That’s a hurdle to overcome.
The plan is to face this challenge in this election year, but first Sen. Albritton must choose his legislative words carefully.
The trick to getting a sports betting bill through the Alabama congress could come down to wording, something that Sen. Albritton clearly understands, right now with three different bills to choose from, each with its own take on how such a market would be regulated and taxed.
Sen. Albritton told the Capitol Journal:
This is not a package of bills; these are three separate bills addressing it in different ways. We have the vehicle, if you will, to move this along. We have the votes in the House and Senate to pass these bills, alright? The problem is getting them through the process. That’s where we’ve fallen short in the House each and every time.
Last year the Alabama Senate gave a sports betting bill their approval, one that would have expanded the casino market, added a state lottery, and greenlit a legal sports betting market, but the legislative session ran out of time before the State House could put it to a vote.
A clear sign that some foot-dragging is happening when it comes to legalizing gambling in Alabama, but the reality is those activities are already happening underground.
The mistake Alabama lawmakers are making is thinking that by not permitting the legal sports betting market to launch they are somehow preventing that activity from taking place, but that is incorrect because Cotton State bettors still find a way to place their wagers.
Right now, Alabama gamblers use offshore sportsbooks, illegal local bookies, and travel to neighboring states like Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina where sports betting is already legal, and all those millions of dollars are leaving the state and benefitting outsiders.
Sen. Albritton accepts this reality and wants to redirect those funds homeward by launching a legal sports betting market in Alabama with one of his bills, telling the Capitol Journal:
“Gambling is already present, with all of its problems and ills and issues right now, but we have no control over it. It’s the Wild West out there. Alabama has to take control of this industry.”
It’s an ongoing story so check back for all the latest news and updates.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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