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Lottery, casino bill moves to Alabama House of Representatives

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A bill to allow a lottery, casinos and sports betting now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Alabama Senate passed the bill Tuesday night.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon tells ABC 33/40 he is now reviewing the bill.

The bill's sponsor, senator Jim Mcclendon (R- Springville) wanted to pass a simple lottery bill.

“What I wanted to do was pass a simple, straight forward lottery, didn’t get involved in anyone else’s business, all it did was give Alabamians an opportunity to have a vote if they wanted a lottery or not,” said McClendon. “But Lauren, I couldn’t get that bill passed, I didn’t have the votes.”

Birmingham Race Course and Greenetrack are two of six sites in Alabama that could offer casino style table games if a proposed constitutional amendment passes.

McClendon says the bill is now similar to a gaming proposal rejected last month.

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The lottery, casinos and sports betting combined are estimated to bring in between $510 million and $710 million annually.

"There will be money going to higher ed,” McClendon said. “There will be money going to the education budget. There will be money going to infrastructure, something to help with the broadband situation particularly in remote and rural areas in Alabama.”

Some of the money would also be used to offset the state's grocery tax, reducing it by two percent in 2023.

The proposal now moves to the House, where more changes are likely to be made.

“I had somebody tell me this morning they have votes to spare down there to pass it,” McClendon said. “And I’ve had other House members say I’d rather have a simple lottery bill. So guess what? It’s a gamble.”

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If the House passes the proposed constitutional amendment, voters would have the final say in the 2022 general election.

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