Alabama Senate votes down gambling, lottery bill

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:34 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Senate has voted down a bill that would have given residents a chance to vote on expanding gambling and establishing a lottery in the state.

The legislation needed 21 votes to pass the chamber and move to the House but failed on a vote of 19-13.

The senators who voted for the bill were Greg Albritton, William Beasley, Donnie Chesteen, Linda Coleman-Madison, Vivian Davis Figures, Kirk Hatcher, Jimmy Holley, Andrew Jones, Steve Livingston, Del Marsh, Jim McClendon, Tim Melson, Randy Price, Greg Reed, Bobby Singleton, Rodger Smitherman, J. T. Waggoner, Tom Whatley and Jack Williams.

Those who voted against it were Gerald Allen, Will Barfoot, Tom Butler, Clyde Chambliss, Chris Elliott, Sam Givhan, Garlan Gudger, Arthur Orr, Dan Roberts, Clay Scofield, David Sessions, Shay Shelnutt and Larry Stutts.

The Alabama state senators who voted for and against the gambling and lottery bill.
The Alabama state senators who voted for and against the gambling and lottery bill.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Del Marsh, previously said he had the votes to pass it out of the Senate, but it fell short by two votes Tuesday afternoon.

Marsh has indicated he’s not prepared to let the legislation die and was expected to speak to members of the media later in the afternoon.

“We’ve been working with senators and House members to try to come up with something that people are comfortable with, and the governor’s staff,” Marsh said Monday afternoon. “I’ve worked with all of them. The time is due that we address this issue once for all to try to control gaming in the state and for the state to reap the benefits of it when it’s already going on.”

Marsh made that statement just after a lawsuit was filed against him claiming he’d been bribed to create the legislation. He has called the allegations against him a “flat out lie.”

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement after vote, saying, “Today’s vote by the Alabama Senate confirms more work must be done, because this issue is too important to not get it right. No doubt gambling is complex and challenging, but I remain committed to giving the people of Alabama the final say. I also believe the work of my Study Group last year can continue to be helpful in finding the right path as we move forward. Should the Legislature wish to continue discussions on this topic, I stand ready and willing to engage.”

Alabamians last got the opportunity to vote on whether to allow a lottery in 1999 when it was pushed by then-Gov. Don Siegleman as a way of funding education. Voters opted to reject the referendum.

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