Lottery, on line casino invoice launched into Alabama Legislature

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A proposal was tabled in the Alabama legislature on Tuesday to start a lottery and allow casinos in the state. This was the first time since 1999 that attempts were made to bring the topic of gambling to the electorate.

Anniston-based Republican Senator Del Marsh said his bill provides for a state lottery and five casinos offering table games, sports betting, and slot machines, mainly on existing dog tracks.

“I think the people of Alabama are ready and willing to address this problem. Poll data shows they want to vote on it, "Marsh told reporters on Tuesday.

Alabama voters must approve any amendment to the state constitution to allow gaming. The Alabamians last voted on gambling in 1999 when they defeated a lottery proposed by the then government. Don Siegelman

A casino would be in a location in northern Alabama operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The other four would be at the VictoryLand dog track in Macon County, the Greenetrack in Green County, the Birmingham Racecourse and the Mobile Racecourse owned by the Poarch Band. The proposal would also encourage the governor to negotiate with the Poarch Band about their other facilities.

The former president pro tempore stated that the bill will end up in the legislative fast lane, at least initially. Marsh said he hopes the tourism committee he chairs will vote it on Wednesday to prepare it for debate on Thursday.

Marsh said, however, that he has no plans to seek a Senate vote on Thursday but will wait for lawmakers to return from a week-long hiatus.

The northern Alabama location would be in Counties Jackson or DeKalb, Marsh said. The website is of great interest as it has clients in both Atlanta and Tennessee.

Marsh said he suggest using lottery proceeds to fund college scholarships.

The casino's revenue would be split, with 75% being used for technological infrastructure, rural health and mental health services. 5% goes to local governments and the rest is used by lawmakers.

Casino revenue would be taxed at 20%.

Gambling bills, introduced since 1999, have fallen short due to a mix of conservative opposition to gambling as a source of income and a turf war to offer companies casino games or electronic bingo machines similar to slot machines.

Marsh said he was trying to reach an agreement among "key players" in the state.