An Alabama senator believes a vote to expand gambling could jeopardize Republican victory in next year’s presidential election. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Alabama has always been conservative when it comes to gambling laws, and one state senator said talks about expansion still have “many miles to go.”
Two state officials are reportedly working behind the scenes to get a public vote on the matter. Chris Blackshear and Andy Whitt hope to ask the people of Alabama that question during next year’s presidential election.
could lead to more Democrats voting
Senator Chris Elliott threw cold water on the idea, believing this approach would be a mistake. On a local radio talk show, Elliott warned that a gambling-related constitutional amendment question on the ballot could lead to more Democrats voting. The Mobile native speculated that this could lead to Republicans having difficulty winning the newly created 2nd Congressional District.
Senator Elliott believes that neither the majority members of the House of Representatives nor the Senate want to jeopardize the presidential election for the Republican Party. Alabama has historically been a red state, with a majority of voters supporting the Republican candidate in every single presidential election since 1976.
There is still a lot of work in progress
Elliott also believes there is a lot of discussion to be had before there is a significant expansion of gambling in the state and says it is still a work in progress. He further warned against holding a special legislative session in 2024 to consider new gambling laws, an approach current Gov. Kay Ivey has taken several times in recent years.
Over the years, there have been many failed attempts by Alabama legislators to pass new gambling laws. A big focus in next year’s legislative session will be establishing a gambling commission to crack down on widespread illegal gambling across the state.
Alabama is also one of only five US states without a lottery. A 2020 report estimated that such an offering would bring the government up to $300 million each year.
Previous attempts to legalize sports betting would have allowed retail operations at dog tracks and on Poarch Band of Creek Indians properties. Online sports betting would also be allowed, and more comprehensive draft laws would also create a state lottery and allow casino games.