Alabama Study on Gambling Industry Returned to Governor Ivey; Shows Promise for the State

For decades, Alabama has remained one of a handful of states that barely offers any gambling options. There is no lottery, no casinos (except a tribal option), no poker, no online gambling, etc. However, for the past few years, lawmakers have been trying to see legislation passed that would bring the state into the modern era by way of gambling services. Efforts have been thwarted due to the conservative nature of the state, but it seems changes may be coming. Earlier this year, Governor Kay Ivey commissioned a study on how the state would be affected by gambling. This week, the study was returned to her and it shows that the good outweighs the bad.

Findings of the Study

The study was returned to Ivey on December 18. She has been opposed to gambling in the past but was willing to give the industry consideration. The group conducting the study was composed of 12 members and they turned in a 876 page document that covered several topics.

Research conducted covered the current situation in the state regarding gambling as well as what types of gambling the state would be set up to provide. The cost and benefit of each gambling option was reviewed, with other states used as examples. The study also looked at how the new gambling options would be regulated.

The group was able to determine that gambling would work in the state. Even just creating a lottery would bring as much as $200 million and upwards of $300 million a year. If the state were able to bring in even more options, like retail casinos, then over $700 million is estimated.

If sports betting was included as well, tack on an extra $10 million. Along with the much-needed revenues, the state could also expect around 19,000 jobs. Wages provided would be better than the average options in the state.

The study does recognize that with more gambling options in the state, the risk associated with problem gambling would be increased. However, funds could be placed to the side to provide awareness and education for those who take part. Overall, the outcome would be positive for Alabama.

What Gambling Options are Offered in Alabama?

Right now, Alabama does have gambling options, but not much. The options they do have are limited. For land-based gaming, the state has tribal casinos and dog racetracks. Parimutuel racing is legal in the state but they do not offer it anymore.

In the past, greyhound racing was very popular among residents and four tracks were in operation. However, the tracks that remained this year ended options not long ago. The tracks are now used for simulcast races and players can wager on these options. Simulcast races are quite popular and are a video style form of gaming that offers betting on races from across the country.

There are only three tribal casinos in the state, and they operate as Class II facilities. They are owned and operated by Wind Creek Hospitality. Because of the facilities classification, they can only offer slot style bingo games and bingo.

If commercial casinos were approved via legislation, the tribal casinos could offer Class III gaming, which would mean more traditional options.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.