MONTGOMERY — Members of a House and Senate conference committee negotiating on gambling legislation will meet publicly Wednesday afternoon for the first time.

According to State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), the meeting will be held at 2 p.m. in Room 617 of the State House.

“We’ve been talking with each other and other members, conference members and non-conference member, trying to figure out what we’re going to do. Where do we go? What can be done? We don’t see a way right now. Lots of possibilities, but nothing that has the votes,” Albritton told reporters on Tuesday.

Last week, the Senate appointed State Sens. Albritton, Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) and Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) to the conference committee. They joined State Reps. Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City), Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) and Sam Jones (D-Mobile) on the committee.

A conference committee meets and discusses the points of difference between the two chambers, trying to reach an agreement on legislation. If an agreement is reached and if both chambers adopt the conference committee report, the bills are passed. A constitutional amendment would still require a 60% vote threshold in both chambers.

No official meeting notice had been posted on the Legislature’s website as of Tuesday night.

Gudger said on Tuesday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" that he was “still very optimistic” about the conference committee having a path forward.

“I do think that people want this to come out. I think the people want a vote on a lottery. I think part of that is what is attached to a lottery. Is that sports betting? Is that casinos? Is that neither one and just a paper lottery? I think a lot of people throughout all of our districts are calling their legislators to tell them what they want, so we’re listening,” Gudger said. “Our job is to do the very best job we can with the information we have and see if we can merge those together.”

In its original form, House Bill 151 (HB151) would repeal all constitutional amendments allowing gambling in certain parts of the state and remove the state's constitutional gambling prohibition. 

The other, House Bill 152 (HB152), initially authorized a series of provisions legalizing casino gaming in specific locations, a statewide lottery, and online sports betting. 

The House passed both bills in February with a comfortable margin.

After weeks of deliberation, the Senate passed both bills on March 8, this time with amendments, significantly changing the original legislation.

The substitute amendments under the Senate plan include a statewide lottery and a requirement that the governor negotiate a gambling compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI). Sports betting, online gambling, or other non-PCI new casinos aren't included in the Senate's amendment like the House's version. The constitutional amendment would be voted on in the Senate plan on September 10 in a special election.

The Senate's revised constitutional amendment also authorizes pari-mutuel wagering, including historical horse racing at the racetracks in Greene, Jefferson, Macon, and Mobile Counties and an additional location in Greene County, at the existing bingo halls in Houston County, and in the town of White Hall in Lowndes County.

The House version was estimated to raise the state's annual revenue by around $1 billion, while the Senate version is estimated to raise around $300 million annually.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.