Gov. Kay Ivey is shutting down the Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming.
Established in 2016 by then-Gov. Robert Bentley, the 11-member committee was to examine the impact of distinct types of gambling on state revenue.
But since the board has not held a meeting in over four months, several sources have told the Alabama Political Reporter that Ivey has “unofficially” dismantled the Council.
“It was my understanding that it died when Ivey came in,” one person said. “The work was done, all that was left was writing the report. And the report wasn’t far from being completed.”
Council Chair Clinton Carter, Alabama’s state finance director, had been compiling a comprehensive report, when Ivey’s office informed him that the governor had no further interest in the report.
During the board’s brief existence, members — comprised of both pro- and anti-gaming lawmakers — heard several presentations from a variety of experts such as casino owners, law enforcement and lottery directors from Louisiana and Connecticut, as well as gambling opponents.
While there has not been a dollar figure on travel and other costs related to the committee’s meetings, the Reporter estimates it could be in the thousands.
Bentley asked the Council to offer a list of facts for lawmakers to use in determining the future of gambling in Alabama. Carter’s report would not have recommended any choice of action for the state, simply listing pros and cons on revenue and other factors.
“For example, if we just did a lottery, here’s what it would mean for revenues, the laws that could change, the effect on several entities, etc.,” another person told the Reporter. “There were too many different opinions on gaming for the committee to reach a conclusion that everyone agreed on.”
One common attitude among committee members was to allow Alabama citizens to vote on gaming in one, or many, forms.
“The only discussion on the committee was about making sure we gave voters clear and complete information,” another person said.