Both Alabama and Oklahoma could join the sports betting industry in 2022. Both lawmakers in Alabama and Oklahoma have filled sports betting bills to bring legalized wagering to their states.
Alabama Making Their Sports Betting Push Once Again
Alabama is one of the few states without a lottery, as the effort has been going on since 1999. Some segments of the proposed bills made progress as the Senate passed a bill to establish a state lottery and casinos in the state. However, the bill fell two votes short of making it through the House of Representatives.
House Bill 72 was introduced to state legislation on Tuesday. Rep. Ralph Howard is also sponsoring the bill that would help establish a state lottery and allow sports betting to take place with the newly formed lottery.
Sen. Greg Albritton has yet to introduce the comprehensive gaming bill that would include sports betting in the proposal. One of the issues was where the new casino locations would be. Those against the bill believed that parts of the state were not even in consideration when talking about specific locations for the new casinos. He went on to say;
“Let’s find a way that we can bring in everybody that’s involved with this industry. Let’s gain control of them, and let’s start regulating and taxing them right away.”
Albritton’s version of his sports betting bill has yet to be drafted, but it will include writing that will make the gambling commission dependent on a constitutional amendment. He believes the proposal can bring in up to $800 million. He stated;
“My intent is to take the bulk of the money that we have from gaming and direct that toward mental health issues… By that, I mean re-establish long-term care for mental health.”
If the bill is passed, the power would be in the voters’ hands to have the opportunity to amend the constitution that could introduce the lottery, sports gambling, slot machines, and other casino games.
Oklahoma Also Making a Sports Betting Push
Rep. Ken Luttrell announced on Monday that he filed House Bill 3008. In the details, the bills would bring retail sports betting to the state’s tribal gaming compact. Luttrell made the argument that neighboring states have some form of sports betting.
It’s easy to assume that Oklahoma is missing out on the potential revenue the operation can bring to the state. She stated to the local press:
“Illegal sports betting occurs throughout Oklahoma, and figures I obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) show 11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized.”
“This reflects only a fraction of what actually occurs in our state. The Oxford Economics Group estimates that legal sports betting would generate $240 million in revenue for Oklahoma and create over 3000 direct and indirect jobs. This legislation just makes sense.”
Lawmakers have until January 20th to introduce bills and joint resolutions as the upcoming session begins on February 7th. Sports betting gained some traction in 2020 when Comanche Nation and Otoe Missouria tribes negotiated gaming compacts with Gov. Kevin Stitt. However, the Supreme Court blocked the effort that would have allowed legal sports betting to occur in the state.