MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WKRG/AP) – Lottery bills are getting their first test with Alabama lawmakers today, but the state’s Attorney General isn’t on board.
Luther Strange released a statement Tuesday morning, calling the proposed state lottery a “band aid” for the state’s budget woes. He also believes a state lottery will open loopholes that could allow casino gambling.
“I am personally opposed to any lottery to fund state government. I believe the lottery is, at best, a band aid on the state’s budgetary problems and will not provide the kind of long-term solution we need,” Strange said in the statement.
The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee is meeting this morning for public hearings on five different lottery bills. The committee could vote as soon as Tuesday afternoon.
“As Attorney General, I have been approached by the Legislature to offer a legal interpretation of the impact of the various lottery proposals upon the state. My office has reviewed the Governor’s proposed constitutional amendment (SB3). If the amendment passes as proposed and is followed by responsible enabling legislation, my legal team believes it will create a limited lottery without the kinds of loopholes that will lead to casino gambling or protracted litigation. However, if Senator McClendon’s proposed constitutional amendment (SB11) passes, my legal team believes it will not only allow for a lottery but will lead to casino gambling and protracted litigation.” — Attorney General Luther Strange
The proposals up for debate include Gov. Robert Bentley’s plan to set up a lottery to fund Medicaid. However, lawmakers have introduced several rival proposals.
One would also allow electronic lottery terminals, which can resemble slot machines, at four state dog tracks, and seek a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Another bill would limit a lottery to multistate games, such as Powerball, to save administration costs.
Alabama is one of six states without a lottery. However, lawmakers say the bills face an uncertain outlook in the special session.