Gambling in Alabama Would Create Thousands of Jobs
A gambling expansion report recently turned over to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey shows the potential for the state to create thousands of new jobs and revenues.
Alabama is known as a conservative state. The majority of its residents are republicans and decisions made regarding businesses, laws, entertainment, etc. tend to be completed with religion in mind. Because of this, Alabama is one of just a handful of states that does not have a lottery or additional gambling options. There is a tribal casino in the state and a few bingo spots, but that is it. Over the past year, considerations have been made as to how the state could expand its gambling options. A report was just turned in to Governor Kay Ivey, showing that any expansion would be a positive one for the state.
Thousands of New Jobs
As many as 19,000 new jobs could be created in the state if gambling were legalized, based on the findings of the commissioned report. The Study Group on Gambling provided an almost 900 page report detailing how legalized gambling would provide as much as $700 million to the budget. This amount would be generated from a lottery, casinos and sports betting.
The lottery has been a point of contention for many years in the state. For the most part, residents would like the opportunity to play the lottery. Many people travel from Alabama to nearby states like Tennessee to buy lottery tickets. If Alabama legalized a lottery, it is estimated that as much as $300 million could be generated annually.
The study group complied its findings in the report and made five recommendations. The state could do nothing, prohibit gambling but create a regulatory authority or allow a lottery and nothing else. It was also recommended that the state could allow gambling on a limited basis or legalize it fully.
Going with full legalization might be difficult considering the conservative nature of the state. Going with a limited option might work. However, Governor Ivey is not a strong supporter of gambling. She said that the final say needs to belong to the public.
Ivey stated after receiving the report that when she has a recommendation that is connected to a specific course of action, she will conduct herself in full transparency to the citizens of her state. She plans to work with legislature on any bills that might come up regarding gambling.
State Senator Del Marsh, a republican, has said he will file gambling legislation next year when legislature is back in session. Marsh feels it is now time to address the issue.
Time to Set Up
If, and it is a big if, gambling was legalized in some form or fashion in the state, then it would take time to set up the industry. Alabama does not have a regulatory authority to oversee any gambling activity. So, one would have to be created.
Rules and regulations would also have to be created, which can take time. However, since Alabama is one of the last states in the US to add such options, lawmakers could easily look at how other states have set up their industries and do something similar.
Opponents are going to point out the social issues that come with gambling, such as addiction and crime. The report by the study group showed that both addiction and crime could increase due to a gambling expansion. The report suggests setting aside money to be used to fight these issues including gambling treatment, prevention, and education options.
It will be interesting to see what types of legislation will be introduced next year regarding gambling in Alabama. Will lawmakers go all out and consider full gambling or will it be limited to perhaps just the lottery or maybe casinos thrown in?