During Tuesday's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," State Rep. Gil Isbell (R-Gadsden) revealed the Alabama House of Representatives would consider a so-called "simple lottery bill" sometime during the remainder of the 2022 regular session.
House Bill 502 (HB502), sponsored by State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollingers Island), has 13 co-sponsors, including Isbell.
Isbell was asked by host Todd Stacy about the prospects of a comprehensive gaming proposal, as put forth by State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), in the House.
The Etowah County Republican lawmaker indicated that although he was taking a wait-and-see approach, there did not seem to be an appetite for comprehensive gaming in an election year.
However, he indicated a lottery had broad public support.
"I think that a comprehensive gaming bill this year coming down from the Senate will be rather hard to deal with in the House," Isbell said. "And the main reason is, usually when we get something down from them, we do a much more detailed workout, just like enforcement, oversight -- just like last year. And we ran out of time. We tried to do a lottery bill.
"Well, as of today, there is a lottery bill similar to the one last year that was dropped and what it is going to do is it's just a simple lottery bill. You have a lottery commission, and you have enforcement under that commission."
Isbell said the bill will have to make it to the floor and go through a committee.
"I don't know what the temperature is upstairs in the Senate or the Governor's office," said Isbell. "But I think the people want to vote for a lottery. Gaming is not as high polling, but I think it's about 80% of the public wants to vote on the lottery because we have so much money going out of the state.
"And I'm one of those -- I would love to see a lottery because we're putting our toe, our foot in the water, testing it and then we can go to the next step if needed. Now, we'll find out if that comprehensive gaming bill has any credibility when it reaches the House. Since it is an election year, it is a very difficult issue to deal with. So, a lot of folks just don't want it at all."
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