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Alabama Lottery Bill Approved by State Senate

Alabama Lottery Bill Approved by State Senate

The Alabama Senate has narrowly passed a proposal which would amend the state's constitution, to allow the formation of an Alabama lottery. The bill would also make provisions for the introduction of instant win tickets and multi-state lottery games including, Powerball.

Republican Senator Greg Albritton sponsored the Alabama lottery proposal. With early indications that the vote would not garner enough support, Albritton stated that the outcome was a relief: “I came in fully anticipating this to be a very close vote”.

Any bills put before the Senate or the House must pass with a minimum of three-fifths of the vote. The Alabama lottery proposal was passed 21-12, receiving the minimum required vote to pass. When asked to comment on the bill, Albritton said he was “pleased, a little surprised, and grateful it's over.”

The Alabama Lottery would generate up to $167 million per year for the state, after prize winnings and administrative fees, according to the Legislative Services Agency. The funds will initially repay the Alabama Trust Fund $184 million for subsidising the state budget between 2013 and 2015. After the debt is repaid, the money will be split equally between the State General Fund, and a reserve fund.

Albritton was quoted of the General Fund decision: “The General Fund has always been strangled; it always funds everything else. And it has a lot less money, and a lot more hands.”

Alabama legislators' moves to instate a lottery were partially inspired by Mississippi's recent success in doing so. In August 2018, the Mississippi House passed a bill allowing the formation of a state lottery, with sales expected to begin in late 2019. The last state before that to introduce a lottery was Wyoming, in 2014.

How Long Before Alabama Has A Lottery?

The Alabama lottery bill has a way to go before being signed into law; with the bill passed by the state Senate, it is now moved to the Alabama House of Representatives, where it requires another three-fifths majority to pass. The House comprises 104 members, meaning the proposal would need a least 63 members to vote in its favour to progress.

In the event of the bill passing the House, it would come to a public vote, appearing on ballots during the March 2020 presidential primary. If the public vote in favour of instating the Alabama lottery, it could be another year before tickets are available from retailers.

Lottery Changes Across America

Alabama is the latest state to make changes to lottery laws. There has recently been a swell in discussion of lottery anonymity laws, with three states passing constitutional amendments allowing lottery winners to remain anonymous.

In the first quarter of 2019 alone, the states of Virginia, West Virginia and Arizona have introduced laws allowing lottery players to keep their identity a secret in the event of winning a jackpot. Arizona allows confidentiality to winners of over $100,000; Virginia allows winners of $10 million or more to remain anonymous; West Virginia allows anonymity for winners of $1 million or more.

While some states are reviewing their laws regarding anonymity, some are rejecting similar proposals. New Mexico rejected a proposal to allow lottery anonymity in February 2019, with Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisholm stating that “New Mexicans should have every confidence in the games run by the lottery.” Proposals in Arkansas and Connecticut also failed, with lottery transparency paramount in the minds of state legislators.

Wisconsin announced a proposal to allow anonymity mere hours after 24-year-old Wisconsan Manuel Franco came forward as the sole winner of a $768 million Powerball jackpot from March 2019. Minnesota, Massachusetts and Oregon are also reportedly considering proposals to allow anonymity in their lotteries.

If Alabama's lottery proposal makes it to a public vote in 2020, the Yellowhammer State could become the 48th jurisdiction to offer Powerball.

Page Last Updated: 8/9/2021 12:54:59 PM