After a bitter and contentious battle in the legislature over a proposed gambling package that ultimately died in the Senate, House leadership said it has no interest in pursuing the issue in the next session. 

The 2024 legislative session had its fair share of contentious bills, none more talked about, however, than a proposed package of bills that would legalize casino gaming in specific locations, a statewide lottery and online sports betting. The package would also have created a gaming commission to regulate gambling operations.

The original package passed the House. The Senate also passed the package after heavily amending it to remove casino gaming and sports betting provisions. After weeks of back-and-forth, a conference committee between the House and Senate met and hammered out what seemed like an acceptable compromise. However, the Senate failed to garner sufficient votes for the proposed constitutional amendment, and the session closed out without the bill receiving a vote.

Negotiations came down to the wire, with House members attempting talks until the final day. After negotiations fell through, the House passed the education budget and adjourned sine die.

SEE: RIP GAMBLING 2024: House closes session by approving the education budget after a last-minute gambling push

After the House adjourned, House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) told reporters he was disappointed that the gambling bills failed and anticipated an increase in illegal gambling operations.  

SEE ALSO: House passes ETF supplemental after bashing Senate for killing gambling package – 'This House bows down to the Senate too often'

“This is the fact of the matter; I do think because of the failure of this, you’re going to see an explosion of illegal operations,” Ledbetter said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that; that’s one of the things. The other thing, the people really want a chance to vote. We gave it every effort we can, it didn’t happen.

When asked if he wanted to pursue gambling again next year, Ledbetter responded by saying, “No. I don’t. I don’t have any plans to.”

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