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Alabama Advances Online Sports Betting Proposal

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Proposals that would legalize online sports betting through an Alabama state lottery are advancing in the legislature.

The Senate Tourism committee on Wednesday approved two bills (SB 293, SB 294) on a 9-1 vote, that would bring the question of legalizing sports betting before voters on the November ballot. The measures, in line with legislation considered last year, next head to the Senate for consideration.

They would provide up to five operator licenses to start and tax gaming revenue at 20%. They would also create a state lottery and gaming commission, as Alabama is one of five states currently without a lottery. 

Licenses are earmarked for five casinos, one of which is under tribal control.

Slow Moving in the South

Sports betting has been a tougher sell in the Deep South compared to the rest of the country.

The push to bring sports betting to the Yellowhammer State came close last year, though a senate-passed proposal failed to gain enough support in the House, despite support from Gov. Kay Ivey.

While retail betting is legal in Mississippi, Tennessee is the only state out of Alabama’s four neighbors to allow online betting.

Litigation and failed signature collections have derailed plans in Florida, while the legislative process in Georgia has played out similarly to Alabama.

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