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Greensboro lawmaker proposes new clean lottery bill

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:00 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Lottery talks are back as the Legislature gets back into session. A west Alabama lawmaker says his proposal is what’s best for the state.

“I think the overwhelming majority of people in this state want to see us vote on a lottery,” Representative Ralph Howard, (D)-Greensboro said.

State Representative Ralph Howard believes a majority of Alabamians would be in favor of his proposed clean lottery bill. He says the money would stay in the state.

25% will go toward tuition assistance for college students.

“It does not matter whether you are going to a two-year or four-year school or a private school. This money will follow the children,” Howard said.

Howard tells us 25% will go into the state’s general fund, 20% into the education trust fund, 15% into community service grants, and another 15% for Medicaid expansion which Howard says is greatly needed especially in rural areas.

“When those people come into our hospitals that are insured, they can then be covered. These are working people that fall in that gap who don’t have medical insurance,” Howard said.

The Poarch Creek Indians are also proposing a comprehensive gaming package that includes a lottery, casinos, and sports betting, but Howard believes if that passes then the Poarch Creek Indians will have a monopoly and it could force electronic bingo facilities to close in the Black Belt region which could have a big economic impact there.

“Their proposal throws out $700 million. Where’s the guarantee to anybody? What we will get from it in rural Alabama? What we will get from it in urban Alabama? The people of this state are not that naïve to throw out 700-million and think that we’re for sale,” Howard said.

We got this response from the Poarch Creek Indians in response to Howard’s bill:

“The Poarch Creek Indians believe that a comprehensive gaming package, which would include a state lottery, limited casino facilities, and sports wagering would provide the most benefit to the state of Alabama. In the past PCI has been supportive of a state lottery and believes that Alabamians should have the opportunity to pursue legal options within their own state. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians respects Representative Howards decision to file a pure lottery bill, however we feel at this time the best opportunity for Alabama is to pursue a comprehensive gaming package in the state legislature and let the people of Alabama have their vote on the issue.”- Robbie McGhee, Chief Governmental Relations and Public Affairs Officer, Poarch Band of Creek Indians

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