State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) vows to take another shot at Alabama’s decades-long gaming saga this session.
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Albritton, who also chairs the Senate General Fund Committee, told host Todd Stacy he had three bills he was prepared to introduce.
“I have three bills ready to drop, OK,” he said. “These are not a package of three bills. These are three separate bills. We have the bills. We have the vehicle, if you will, to move this along. We have the votes in the House and the Senate to pass these bills, alright. The problem is getting them through the process, and that’s where we’ve fallen short in the House each and every time. And we continue to have that. 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. I’m struggling with how I’m going to deal with that.
“It needs to be attacked. It needs to be done. Gambling is already present, and all of its problems, its ills and issues right now, and we have no control over it. It’s the wild west out there. Alabama has got to take control of this industry. That’s what I’m headed toward.”
The Escambia County Republican lawmaker said his first objective would be creating a framework to “control” Alabama’s existing gaming. Once that was settled, additional gaming could be dealt with.
“[T]he bill that I have envisioned, OK, first sets the commission up and allows it to begin to take control of gaming that’s already occurring – not only on the ground in particular counties where it is already existing … you know, we have 20 local [constitutional amendments] dealing with gaming in the state, alright? But anyway, not only would the state take control of that, but we’d also control the gaming online,” Albritton said. “We’d also control the sports gaming. And we would also control the fantasy gaming.
“Can you imagine how much money was won or lost in the last three minutes of the Iron Bowl, played in Alabama by Alabama players, Auburn and Alabama? And the money that went to Las Vegas – we don’t even know what that was. Anyway, we have that. We can deal with the compact of the Poarch Creek Indians and get a part of that. We can also do the lottery. Now the lottery is probably the most egregious and the greatest expansion that can happen in gaming in Alabama. But that’s what the popular instance is – is we want a lottery. If we want to do that expansion, we’ve got to get control of all of that.”
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