MONTGOMERY — The Senate could vote on gambling legislation next week after the House passed a comprehensive package a few weeks ago.

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.

The Senate Tourism Committee held a public hearing on the House bills on Wednesday, but no votes were held on the legislation.

"I think that we've got a lot of people in the room who really don't understand the process, who really don't understand what's going on. I must admit that I did meet with them. There's some things being put on the table," Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) told reporters on Thursday. "Hopefully, over the weekend we can come back with a draft, put it in committee by Tuesday, and be something that we can vote on. I like what the House put out. If we can take what the House did and move it forward, but right now it doesn't seem that's going to be the solution."

He continued, "What we need to do is just come up with something where everybody is included. I have not read what it is, but I do understand that it may be something coming on Tuesday. I think it's a rewrite personally from what the House has passed but I have not seen it so therefore I can not be certain of what it is. I'm going to be advocating for what the House passed. That's what I'll be advocating for."

Others have said a comprehensive gambling package like the House passed in February has very little chance of passing the Senate.

"I think that it is very clear there is no path, zero path, to 21 votes for 'comprehensive gaming,' but there's still moving, pushing, shoving. I've looked at the constitutional provisions of different counties. They've got color of law for things that they do. They've got some Attorney General's opinions. There is discussion about like, 'Okay, these people, they've already voted, we've already got constitutional amendments, maybe we can deal with that.' I think the big key is expansion of gaming. That's where it's like okay we think we're getting somewhere and then all of a sudden it's pushback. I'm not sure where it's going to end up. It may not be that we can get 21 votes for anything," State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) said on Huntsville radio WVNN's "The Dale Jackson Show" on Thursday.

The Senate changes would likely differ from the House package over the size, types and locations of gambling establishments allowed in Alabama, according to State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore).

"That's the biggest heartburn and difference between the House version and where the Senate may be headed," Albritton, the Senate sponsor of the House gambling package, told 1819 News on Thursday night.

Albritton said a vote on the topic could be held next week.

"We hope so, that's the plan," Albritton said.

Senate President Pro-Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said, "The Senate is intently looking at the gaming legislation passed by the House of Representatives." 

"The topic is a complex issue, but the question of whether something needs to be done about it is not. I think members are interested in moving legislation forward, and we are going to continue listening to every voice to give Alabamians the best product possible," he added.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) stated, "The Senate Republican Caucus is taking the gaming legislation under deep consideration." 

"A lot of work has been put into reviewing HB151 and HB152 in the last two weeks, and each of our members has been engaged in the legislative process. Like with any piece of legislation, we may differ in specifics, but at the end of the day, we are looking at what will be in the best interest of the people of Alabama," he continued.

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