States can now decide on sports gambling, but don't bet on it for Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday if Congress fails to act, states can set up their own regulation for running a sports betting operation.

Right now, it's illegal for any sports gambling in Alabama. But that doesn't mean it's not happening.

"According to the FBI, there is more illegal gambling in Alabama for its size in the union. Alabama leads the country in illegal betting," Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham said.

Rogers has been a long time proponent of legalizing gambling. Rogers says he is preparing a bill now to legalize sports betting in Birmingham.

"I'm going to create a local bill to create a commission to revitalize Legion Field and the Legion Field corridor," Rogers said.

The Executive Director of the Jefferson County Racing Commission says betting on sports in Alabama could be a big boost to the Birmingham Race Course, which is breaking even on dog racing and simulcasting horse racing.

"A 20-25 percent rate for the state could literally be $150-$200 million bounty for the state of Alabama," Kip Keefer said.

But Republican lawmakers say the GOP majority remains opposed to expanding gambling. So despite proponents talking about the benefits of sports gambling, the chances of legalizing it remains a longshot in the state legislature.

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