MOBILE — After years of fighting to get gambling in Alabama under control, State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said it's "back to the drawing board" for the legislature.

"The issue isn't dead," Albritton told 1819 News Thursday during a visit to Mobile. "The issue is still there. We still have it. It's still present and growing. It's going to become a greater problem the longer it takes for us to get control of it."

Albritton, who appeared to support a House-led process to pass a so-called comprehensive gambling bill during this year's legislative session, was ultimately a "no" vote on that effort after it passed a conference committee he was on.

He said the problem is all the unregulated operations across the state. He is concerned that if something isn't done, more sites will pop up around the state.

"We, the state, are responsible for protecting the public, and that's what we need to do," he added. "We have this conglomeration and conflicting laws. Everybody talks about how gaming is illegal in Alabama. It isn't. We have made it legal on several different fronts and all those conflict and complicate it."

With technology allowing people to have gaming and sports betting at their fingertips, Albritton said it's time for Alabama to take control.

"When you look at the other industry and you have it advertised in every ESPN show, radio, everything on your phone, you can do gaming right now on your phone," he said. "Just pick it up and it's right there. It's a growing entity, and the state needs to control it. The state needs to benefit. The state needs to regulate."

Overall, Albritton is positive about the state of Alabama and the future. He said no matter what is seen in national headlines, the citizens of Alabama have much to celebrate.

"I think we're headed in the best direction that we can be," he said. "I think Alabama has done quite well, monetarily and in most other ways. We get undercut for many, many reasons, but all that's propaganda. People that live here and know where we are and we know we're on the right track."

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