Despite being surrounded by lottery-playing states, Alabama continues to be one of only five states holding out on implementing a state lottery. But all of that could change in the 2019 legislative session.
News broke this weekend that Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said a lottery will be on the 2019 legislative agenda.
“I can say for sure that you’ll see a lottery bill in the first session coming up,” McCutcheon told WHNT News 19. “Now, I can’t determine what the vote’s going to be because I’ve got to see the bill.”
But Monday, McCutcheon clarified those comments, saying they were out of context.
“A reporter from station WHNT in Huntsville asked me last week to comment about the efforts that surrounding states are undertaking to implement lotteries, sports betting, and other forms of gambling,” explained McCutcheon. “I said the Legislature will likely see a lottery bill introduced in the first session of the quadrennium, but that response was based on a general feeling and no concrete knowledge on my part.”
He continued, “As far as I am aware, no lottery bills have been drafted, pre-filed, or even discussed in any detail among members. And any effort to come forward with a lottery bill in the House would not be led by the leadership, which obviously includes me.”
“I do feel that if any lottery bill were to have a chance of success, it should be defined as a traditional paper ticket lottery rather than an electronic lottery that could open the door to slot machines and other gambling devices,” he added.
Gubernatorial support for a lottery
If lawmakers were to pursue a lottery, neither gubernatorial candidate would likely stand in the way. Both Republican Kay Ivey and Democrat Walt Maddox seem to agree on a lottery for the state.
“If the people want to vote that’s fine,” Ivey toldWKRG back in August. “We have a robust economy, our budgets are strong we are able to do what we need to do so Alabama is at work and we’re working hard and is working.”
“The lottery has been a part of our platform since the very beginning and we certainly believe that 300 million dollars a year should be invested in college scholarships, Pre-K programs and to our schools so we can lift everyone up in the state of Alabama,” Maddox also told WKRG.