According to House Speaker-designate Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), you might want to think twice about betting on the passage of a gaming bill this upcoming legislative session.
During an interview with Rightside Radio host Phil Williams, Ledbetter said he did not think a "serious bill" would make it to the floor in 2023.
The DeKalb County Republican, who was elected as the House Republicans' nominee for speaker, said while it was likely a gaming bill would be filed for 2023, he questioned consideration until the new members had an opportunity to "look at all the options."
"As you and I know, any bill can be dropped at any time by anybody," he said. "Will there be one dropped or applied? Maybe. I don't think there will be a serious bill this year. I believe that we've got to give these new people a chance to try to look at all the options of what is out there."
"[I] think that there are a lot of moving parts to that," Ledbetter added. "It's very complicated. You know, if you look at the state now, it's not that we don't have gambling. We do. A lot of places are opening now with electric bingo or bingo. Today, the last number I had, we're almost at 30 facilities. So, it's not that it's not here. The regulation side of it, to me, is the most important part. We have got to do a better job at putting bills together to make sure that those that are out there illegally are not operating."
"As you alluded to, the Supreme Court has just ruled on some of that," he continued. "As you also know, there was an executive order signed by [former Gov. Robert] Bentley. So it kept some of them open. I think there's a lot of moving parts. Do I think that we'll see something that will probably pass this year? Probably not. I think it will be a conversation that will continue to be had. There's also people who live in a district where there's casinos at that really want to help try move the needle, and I get that. But I think looking forward. We've got to figure out what is the best thing for our state. The governor has got to be engaged in that. The House and Senate have got to be on the same page, and we've got to clean up something before we can fix it."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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