Gov. Robert Bentley came out in support of a lottery plan that is circulating among Montgomery law makers – but with one condition.
Bentley has said he would change his stance on the issue if the revenues flow into the state’s General Revenue fund, as opposed to being earmarked for education purposes only as one going proposal would provide.
The governor has by and large been opposed to any expansion of gambling, though that has softened in recent months.
If the lottery is “clean” and resultant revenues flow into GR, “I would be willing to talk about it positively, but if it’s not I will have to go the other way,” Bentley said.
The stipulation that the money go into the general budged, however, will likely reduce support among many lawmakers and Alabama voters, who see a lottery as worthwhile only if goes directly to the education budget.
“If we put this before a vote of the people and it fails, I don’t think it will ever pass again,” said state Rep. Craig Ford, the House’s Democratic caucus leader.
“I think it is more palatable to the people of Alabama if it goes to the education trust fund,” Ford said.
Asked whether Bentley’s position is designed to ensure a lottery does not pass, Ford said: “It could be.”
Bentley would not be able to veto or otherwise scuttle the bill by himself since the measure would be on the ballot during 2016 General Election in November, though he could throw his weight either behind or against the bill on the stump or through an advertisement campaign.