Senate committee hears two lottery proposals

Dueling lottery bills go before AL lawmakers

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A senate committee heard two proposals to legalize a lottery in the state Thursday morning.

There was a public hearing and nearly two dozen people from the public gave their opinions.

Sen. Jim McClendon’s proposal would put a lottery on the ballot for Alabamians to vote. He says this would allow people to play video lottery terminals. He said they are certain electronic machines someone can play a lottery on.

“VLTs would allow for the creation of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Luther Winn, the Greenetrack president.

Becky Gerritson with Eagle Forum of Alabama said it will hurt poor communities.

“This bill sets up a board that would set up gambling addiction. I think that shows the seriousness of this problem," she said. "If you have to set up a board to take care of gambling addiction, then you’ve got something really wrong.”

Sen. Greg Albritton had a second proposal that would legalize a paper-based lottery. It would also need to go to the voters for a vote. Cody Williamson with Greek Indian Enterprises said he supports it.

“We believe that people should vote on a lottery, but just a lottery. When you add VLTs, it adds another layer of complexity," Williamson said.

Those against Albritton’s bill said this would give a monopoly to The Poarch Band of Creek Indians who would be the only group allowed to video lottery terminals if Alabama passed a lottery.

“Certainly the addition of VLTs or not having VLTs is not going to change that, so there is no monopoly," Williamson said.

The committee did not vote on the proposals Thursday. Sen. Del Marsh is the chair of the committee. he said he wanted members to digest the information from the hearing before voting.

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