Alabama Senator Del Marsh Not Giving Up on Casino Expansion

Senator Del Marsh of Alabama has been working hard to see the gambling industry of the state expand. His efforts were thwarted though as he did not have enough support to push legislation forward to add up to 10 casinos in the state along with a lottery. Late last week, the senator was on the Capitol Journal television show on Public Television in Alabama, stating he has a new plan for when the Legislature is back after spring break.

Comprehensive Gaming Bill

During his appearance on the show, Senator Marsh said that he plans to move forward with a comprehensive gaming bill once the Legislature is back to work on March 30. The last time around, Marsh’s effort failed to move forward due to the fact that the enabling legislation was not made available.

The enabling legislation defines the terms connected to sports betting, casino gambling, the lottery, how it will be regulated and governed, along with other details. The last time, legislators were unable to review all the details, so they were not comfortable with voting to move the legislation forward.

Now, according to Marsh, the enabling legislation has been introduced. It will be out for at least a week by the time legislators are back to work. He feels that with the enabling legislation provided, more lawmakers will be on his side and willing to approve the measure.

The legislation provides minute details, which will help lawmakers to see what the industry would provide if passed into law. Marsh wants to receive feedback and be able to move forward so that voters in the state have the ability to decide if Alabama should extend gambling in some form or fashion.

Marsh has an end goal of getting a piece of legislation out of the Senate. It would then be up to the House and Governor to decide if the measure was acceptable. The senator does regret that he did not move on the legislation sooner. He genuinely thought he had enough votes to approve the measure.

The Lawsuit

On the television program, Marsh was also asked about a pending lawsuit. The senator along with the Poarch Creek Indians have been accused of bribery to get the bill into law. The Poarch Creek Indians have existing casinos in the state that offer small scale gambling and they would benefit from an expansion.

However, Marsh denies the allegations. The lawsuit says that the tribe would have a monopoly, but Marsh says that is untrue. He says the legislation actually looks to set up an industry that would not be a monopoly.

The bill he initially proposed would have created five locations for gaming in the state and only would have gone to the tribe via compact negotiations. The four remaining facilities would have been non-tribal related.

It will be interesting to see if this change will push the legislation forward. Alabamians want to be able to vote on the issue that affects them, but will not get the chance to do so if legislators do not move a bill forward allowing them to do so.

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Conor Stack
Conor is one of our main writers on USGS focusing on a wide range of industry coverage across sports, casino and poker.