While it's unclear if Alabama lawmakers will introduce another gambling bill this year, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) is relaunching its pro-gambling and lottery campaign with the new quadrennium getting underway.
"Pass a comprehensive gaming and lottery bill," one man says in the television ad.
The commercial includes a farmer, a construction worker, a physician, a firefighter and others saying a bill could bring over $700 million a year into the state to address infrastructure, education, health care, high-speed internet expansion and public safety issues while creating 12,000 jobs.
The tribe rolled out a similar "Winning for Alabama" campaign in 2019 at the onset of the last quadrennium.
Legislation considered in the past two regular sessions has died after much debate. In 2022, State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) introduced a controversial set of bills that many said picked winners regarding who would operate the casinos in Alabama.
The legislation allowed lottery and sports betting and would have given rights to PCI while ensuring the state got a share of the revenue from PCI casinos. The proposed amendments to the constitution would have also limited the number of casinos in the state to allow Victoryland, the Birmingham Race Course, Greenetrack, and the Mobile Greyhound Park and three existing Indian casinos, along with “satellite” casinos in Houston and Lowndes Counties, and a new casino in Jackson or Dekalb County. Those would be operated by PCI.
The gambling plan was based on findings of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s Task Force on Gaming.
The opposition argued gambling is an addictive and dangerous game for the state to play. Besides social opposition, others believe the lottery and gaming would do nothing but grow the government at a time when a surplus is not needed. Others point out that some communities where casinos currently exist are proof that gaming hurts the local economy.
The Winning for Alabama website invites online users to “join the movement” and “work collectively for a common goal.”
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