MONTGOMERY – Gambling legislation has a good chance of passing the Senate if it hits the floor, according to Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro).

The House recently approved two bills that laid the basis for comprehensive gaming. House Bill 151 (HB151) repeals all constitutional amendments allowing gambling in certain parts of the state and removes the state's constitutional gambling prohibition. House Bill 152 (HB152) authorizes a series of provisions legalizing casino gaming in specific locations, a statewide lottery, and online sports betting.

"They've sent us a bill up here, (and) it's something we can work with. I look forward to the day that we can have a real debate about it. If we can get it out of here on this floor, debate it, and we can probably move forward with it. I think that that can happen here. I give it a 70/30 chance of passing right now," Singleton told reporters on Thursday.

Others have said the gambling package passed by the House last week has very little chance of passing the Senate.

"The bill that they want, where it's a constitutional amendment with accompanying enabling legislation, has at this point and time at least 19 no's. They can't pass it. They're mad at me because I guess they see me as the ringleader in it. Well, it is what it is," State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) said on Huntsville radio WVNN's "The Dale Jackson Show" on Thursday.

"I think there's a possibility that there's another option out there. What do the people want? They want the lottery. I don't know how many people come up to me and have said, 'I want a lottery. I don't want casinos. I want a lottery.' This idea that you know we've got to, you know, do all these different things and expand gaming dramatically in order to get a lottery, which I think again is bad public policy but the people want it, and all the states around us have it, and they haven't gone down the toilet yet. I think that's a possibility still. The gaming package that was passed by the House, I mean, we don't even have to get to a filibuster. There are a lot of people out there that I've talked to that are hard, hard no's on casino gaming (and) they're like, 'But, I'll vote for a lottery.' It's just a question of: what's that vote count going to be?" 

Senate President Pro-Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said legislation "related to gaming" is going to be moving in the Senate in the next couple of weeks.

"We've had a lot of debate related to it. We got a piece of legislation from the House of Representatives. They worked diligently on the gaming issue. Look, gaming in Alabama is a topic that has been discussed. I've been in the Legislature for 13 years, almost every year we've been talking about it. The issue is one that many of our members feel like the time has come for us to try and address it," Reed told reporters on Thursday. "Then the question is how do we address it? The House has been able to vote and put out a piece of legislation on how they think is the best way to address it. The Alabama Senate is going to do exactly what we do which is be deliberative, work on the details, figure out what's important to our members, both Republicans and Democrats, and continue to move across this forward. I think you're going to see legislation that is going to be moving in the next couple of weeks related to gaming. I think it will be a topic that is going to be different in some ways as would be expected than what is passed by the House and we'll see what the feedback is going to be with that. I'm proud of the members having spent a good bit of time on working on it. I think it's an important topic that we're going to continue to spend time on."

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