Lawmakers considering new bills on lottery betting

Analysis Knight Rider

Lawmakers considering new bills on lottery betting

Lawmakers considering new bills on lottery betting
A public hearing was held today in Alabama on a bill to create a lottery, which is part of a broader gaming package that could pass or fail in the legislative session's final days.

The House of Representatives is debating amended versions of bills approved by the Senate three weeks earlier. Some of the most important things haven't changed. They will also allow for a lottery, six new casinos, and sports betting and facilitate talks with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians on a compact.

Legislators have three days left in their annual session to approve or reject the package that would provide for the first time statewide gaming control. If the bill passes the Legislature, voters will be asked to approve it via a constitutional amendment.

The Senate passed the bill on April 13th. The House Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing today to discuss a proposed version of the lottery bill. The committee meets again on Tuesday, with the possibility of adopting the new bill and sending it to the House for consideration on Thursday.

The Alabama Education Lottery Act, introduced by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, would dedicate the lottery's net proceeds to education. Half of the money will go to a college scholarship program in the Senate edition that focuses on in-demand fields. The Education Trust Fund will receive 50% of the funds, with 70% going to K-12 and 30% to higher education.

However, the current version debated today in committee modified the allocation to put all net income into two-year and four-year college scholarship programs and a program to help college graduates repay student loans if they stay and work in Alabama.

Intrastate games and multi-state games like Pick-3, Pick-4, Mega Millions, and Powerball, as well as instant games, will also be used in lottery games.

There are lotteries in 45 counties, including the four that surround Alabama.

According to the Legislative Services Agency, a lottery will collect between $200 million and $280 million per year.

The total gaming package is expected to generate between $500 million and $700 million each year for state services such as expanding high-speed internet access, health treatment, mental health care, and other initiatives.