The people of Alabama see it time and time again. A big lottery jackpot is up for grabs, and folks race across state lines to purchase their chance at millions.

State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) lives close to the Florida line, where he sees it firsthand. Knowing how much money is being spent in neighboring states, Elliott says he understands there is a need to allow Alabamians to have their own lottery.

Elliott said the problem is a clean lottery bill cannot be passed due to the casino aspect being added to the bill.

"I don't think the two will ever be separated because the gaming interests in this state do not want them to be separated," Elliott told 1819 News. "The people want to vote on a lottery, and I am supportive of a lottery in Alabama. My constituents, overwhelmingly, if you took a polling are supportive of that."

When lawmakers debate all of those aspects, Elliott says there are too many issues to support a final draft.

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"You always end up with a bill that is a mess," he continued. "It has all these widespread casino gaming all over the state, and it just really becomes a mess. Then we get into this sports betting conversation, and it gets to be a mess."

The legislature would have to come up with something for voters to approve, which happened in 1999 when voters turned down a lottery. Although more Alabamians likely vote yes for a lottery now, Elliott said it's all about the details.

"Some of the things I've seen in the past have not been what I would call 'good' for Alabama," Elliott said. "I have voted against and for gaming. How do you like that for a politician's answer?"

Politically, Elliott said he will wait and see what bills are introduced and what issues arise if and when the House approves a bill in the upcoming session.

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