‘Heated’ lottery debate expected on Senate floor Thursday

‘Heated’ lottery debate expected on Senate floor Thursday
The winning $250,000 ticket was purchased in Georgetown County, lottery officials said.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Senate is expected to debate a lottery proposal Thursday after it passed 6-5 in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee Tuesday.

Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, is the sponsor of the bill that would legalize a paper-based lottery. If the legislature approves, it would go to a statewide vote.

Albritton said he knows there will be a heated debate on the floor.

“I think I am optimistic, but it is certainly not in the bag,” Albritton said.

Albritton agreed that the major challenges the bill will face is the turf war over who can have electronic machines and opposition to gambling.

Supporters are calling this proposal a “clean” lottery.

According to the bill, it does not allow for video lottery terminals, casino-style gaming, or slot machines. The bill defines video lottery terminals as any electronic interactive game, machine, or device with a video screen and button, keys and a keyboard.

An amendment was added earlier this week that would make all forms of bingo and pari-mutuel wagering excluded from the definition of video lottery terminal.

It’s been 20 years since Alabamians got a chance to vote on a lottery. In 1999, voters said “No” by a vote of 54 percent to 46 percent.

According to Albritton’s bill, the money from the lottery would first go toward administering and operating the Alabama lottery. The leftover money would then go to the Alabama Trust Fund to repay transfers made to the State General Fund in the fiscal years 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The bill states that half of the remaining money goes into the Alabama Trust Fund. The rest goes into the state General Fund.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.