Voters are halfway to having their say about an Alabama lottery.
The Alabama Senate narrowly voted Thursday to pass a bill providing a lottery with only paper tickets and no expanded video gaming.
Now it’s up to the House of Representatives to pass the bill and send it to citizens to approve or reject in March 2020.
We’ve been here before, of course.
Voters got their chance in 1999 and soundly rejected a lottery for education backed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman.
Three years ago, the Senate passed a lottery bill only to have it die in the House.
This time, it’s uncertain if the House will try to break down what is seen as protection of the Poarch Creek Indians’ gambling operations in the Senate bill and move to establish a gaming commission or leave the bill as simple as possible, which was the goal of the Senate bill’s architect, Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), whose district includes a Poarch Creek casino.
Albritton said he believes the public will solidly vote for a lottery if given the chance — and if the House doesn’t change what has already passed.
“The last time we got it through the Senate, the House played their games and got it killed,” he said. “I hope they’ve learned their lesson. And this time it barely got through (the Senate), so we’ve got to have the House’s help without them playing with it.”
Alabama is the only Deep South state without a lottery and it’s time to change that. Some feel it is a tax only on the poor and oppose it on moral grounds but there is more good than bad to the lottery and it comes down to this — if you don’t like the lottery, don’t play it but don’t stand in the way of those who want to.
The public deserves a chance to say yes or no to a lottery and this time it seems the climate is ripe for approval.