If there is a session of the Alabama Legislature ahead on the calendar, there is a high probability that speculation about gambling making it through the two chambers and on an election ballot is underway.

Ever since Alabama voters rejected a lottery in 1999, efforts to rescind the Alabama Constitution of 1901's prohibition on gambling through the Legislature's constitutional amendment process have come up short.

Could 2024 be different?

A behind-the-scenes effort led by State Reps. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) and Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) is reportedly underway with the anticipation that Alabama voters could get another crack at some form of gambling on the 2024 presidential ballot.

However, according to State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine), putting a gambling constitutional amendment on the 2024 presidential election ballot would be a mistake.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Elliott warned a gambling constitutional amendment could increase Democrat voter turnout, which might put a Republican victory in the newly drawn second congressional district out of reach.

"There are politics that drew these districts, and there are politics that, you know, are involved in the election," he said. "The folks who are elected officials are all very keen on those politics. So, I think it is pretty reasonable to say it would be a mistake to put gaming on the presidential election [ballot], that it would drive up Democrats' turnout. And that is not something that the majority in either chamber should want to do. That's something that I'm going to be watching for. Obviously, we want to be paying attention to what's going on in CD-2, and if there is a chance for a Republican to win, I certainly don't want to torpedo it by some action of the Legislature."

"But I'll be honest with you: I think the whole gaming conversation has got miles and miles to go before we get to any kind of solution," Elliott added. "It is something I certainly will be sitting back and watching to see how it goes in the House and what happens. But I'm not getting down into the details of it until something actually matriculates. It is very much a work in progress."

The Baldwin County lawmaker also cautioned against using a special session during next year's regular session to pass gaming. The tactic, which Gov. Kay Ivey had used in prior years to pass a gas tax increase, spending appropriations for American Rescue Plan Act funding and renewal of economic incentives, was mentioned as a possibility by State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) earlier in the week.

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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