A gambling constitutional amendment could get some floor action during the 2024 session of the Alabama Legislature next year.
However, the winner of the State Senate District 9 special election to fill the void left by former State Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield will not likely be voting for it during next year's session.
Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George and State Reps. Brock Colvin (R-Albertville) and Wes Kitchens (R-Arab), all candidates for the seat, recently told 1819 News they strongly opposed gaming expansion.
That one "no" vote could prove pivotal as pro-gambling lawmakers will need the required three-fifths supermajority for a constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot for voters to approve.
"During my campaigns for the State House in 2018, and again in 2022, I have consistently told voters that I am a 'Conservative Voice' they can depend on and that I oppose the expansion of gambling in my district and in our state," Kitchens said.
Colvin served on the House committee that previously studied expanding gaming in Alabama, and he said he didn't think there were enough votes to pass any such legislation.
"I'm a 'no' vote; it's no secret. I don't believe in expanding comprehensive gaming in Alabama," Brock told 1819 News.
In response to those arguing that illegal gambling is already rampant in Alabama, Brock agreed but said he had a "philosophically different view" on how to handle the issue.
"It is a problem. My solution is increasing the enforcement piece, working with local and state law enforcement to crack down on it," he said. "Some people believe in legalizing and regulating, so that's what it really boils down to. I just don't believe that is the right way to go about it."
Colvin said he would still have to wait to see what bill is brought forward before making a final decision, but he "could not imagine" ever voting for expanding comprehensive gambling.
"You can probably chalk me up as a 'no' vote if it's one of those same ol ugly comprehensive bills," he said. "No matter what chamber I'm in, I don't plan on changing my vote."
George told 1819 News he would oppose gambling and a lottery if he were to win the District 9 seat for the same reasons he's against abortion and state alcohol sales.
"I'm a solid 'no,'" he said.
George explained how he believed Alabama was "blessed" when it entered a "covenant" with Israel by being the first state to lend its support. Conversely, he said Alabama was under a "curse" when it was in a covenant with abortion until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Similarly, George said he believed expanding gambling would put the state in a bad covenant, so he would not approve any comprehensive gaming bills.
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