Alabama dog tracks want more gambling.
Last week, the state’s four greyhound tracks issued a media release calling for the public to put pressure on legislators to act in the upcoming session that starts this winter.
The presser stated: “The Alabama Track Owners Association (ATOA) is asking the citizens of Alabama to call their legislators and tell them to pass a comprehensive gaming and lottery bill now. The toll-free phone number is 1-855-Gaming-1 (1-855-426-4641).”
According to the group, the state is missing out on money. Tennessee, Alabama’s neighbor to the north, has had legal and regulated online/mobile sports betting since November 2020. Other border states have their own forms of legalized gambling.
“Alabama is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in gaming and lottery revenue to Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida,” said the statement, which was accompanied by a video ad. “This continues to happen year after year because the Alabama State Legislature has not approved the comprehensive gaming and lottery plan that would give the people of Alabama the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment.
“If the constitutional amendment approving the comprehensive gaming and lottery plan were to pass, the State of Alabama would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional tax revenue that could be used to fund Alabama priorities including broadband, healthcare, college & trade school scholarships, new job growth, workforce development, and new business opportunities.”
Part of the expansion would include sports betting.
Legislative approval would just be first step
Efforts to pass gambling legislation didn’t materialize earlier this year, and it does not appear a special session will be called to get sports betting finished. That means that legislators will have to wait until early next year for another crack at it.
In order to expand gambling in this way, the state constitution would need to be amended, which requires voter approval. The proposed package also included plans for casinos and a lottery.
Wtvy.com reported Friday that House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said gambling isn’t a high priority right now. “An issue that is that controversial and has so much subject material in it, for a special session, it would not have time to get any traction,” McCutcheon said.
In May, Donald Trump Jr. raised eyebrows by opposing Alabama’s gambling expansion plans. The plan was backed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.