MONTGOMERY — Local legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to legalize historical horse racing gambling machines in Greene County passed the Senate on Thursday.

The measure was approved by a 24-0 margin. The bill needed 21 votes to pass since it is a constitutional amendment. 

The proposed amendment would be voted on in the earlier of the 2024 primary or any special election held in Greene County.

Senate Bill 324 by Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) would "propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, relating to Greene County, to provide legislative findings, provide for the pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing on computerized machines, levy a tax on pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races on computerized machines, provide for the application for licensure and the operation of a racetrack, and provide for the distribution of taxes, fees, and other funds collected by the (racing) commission."

“It’s a local bill based on an industry that already exists,” Singleton said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “This is not about somebody trying to get around taxes or nothing. It’s regulated by a local commission.”

Per BettingUSA, the basic premise of historical horse racing is to "give players a slots-like experience in states where full-fledged slots aren't legal."

According to the legislation, an application to operate a racetrack shall only be granted to an individual who has been a resident of the state of Alabama for at least five years immediately preceding the date on which the license is issued or to a corporation, association, company, partnership, or other legal entity that has been incorporated, organized, or otherwise established in the State of Alabama for at least five years immediately preceding the date on which the license is issued.

The legislation now heads to the House for its consideration.

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