Alabama To Be Flooding With Cash From Gaming Bills; State Contemplates Spending Areas

Phoenix, AZ: Lawmakers anticipate that Alabama could generate substantial revenue if casino-style games, sports betting, and a lottery are approved.

Representative Chris Blackshear, the proponent of the bill, stated that it has the potential to generate between $935.6 million and $1.214 billion.

The lottery revenue is allocated to the Lottery for Education Fund. The fund is designated for one-time educational costs.

The measure also permits expenditures for:

  • Establishing and supporting facilities and programs for problem gaming and gaming addiction therapy.
  • Implementing a last-dollar postsecondary scholarship program for public two-year community and technical institutions to offer degrees, certifications, course credit, and credentials in high-demand professions to address instructional and workforce training requirements across the state.
  • Financial assistance for dual enrollment expenses at any public two-year or four-year university within the state. Funds allocated in this section are accessible to high school students in this state, whether they attend public or private schools or are home-schooled, and have a GPA of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale, along with written approval from their principal or equivalent administrator.
  • Distribution to local boards of education is allocated based on average daily membership for capital or other nonrecurring expenses and school security objectives, such as hiring student resource officers and purchasing security doors.
  • Funding provided for research at four-year colleges.

The measure specifies that funds from the Lottery for Education Fund cannot be allocated for the construction of prisons. The fund would cover the initial costs and yearly expenses of the Alabama Gaming Commission.

Opponents argue that Alabama’s education fund has an excess of funds and draw a comparison with Georgia’s implementation of a statewide scholarship program.

Legislators project that the state will generate the highest revenue from casinos and sports betting. The funds will first be allocated to the General Fund Budget Reserve Fund until it reaches a balance of $300 million. After finishing, most of the earnings will be transferred to the Gaming Trust Fund.