US Gambling Legislation Roundup: Alabama, Minnesota, Maryland

  • The Alabama House passed bills legalizing lottery, casinos, and sports betting
  • Alabama Senate passed the bills, but stripped out casinos and sports betting
  • A Minnesota Senate committee banned in-game wagering in a sports betting bill
  • In Maryland, a House committee banned credit cards in online casino legislation
Politician signing legislation
We take a look at gambling expansion legislation in Alabama, Minnesota, and Maryland. [Image:]

Lawmakers in multiple states have been considering gambling expansion bills over the past couple weeks and though sports betting tends to be the flavor du jour, the bills span an array of activities. No need for further rambling, let’s just get right into it.


There is quite the gulf between the two chambers of the Alabama legislature. In February, the House passed a pair of bills – and passed them quite easily – that would legalize the lottery, online and retail sports betting, and commercial casinos.

shadows of what the House passed

The Senate passed the bills, as well, but decimated them in the process. Gone are sports betting and commercial casinos, leaving only a state lottery. The bills still permit pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog racing and historical horse racing machines at seven venues as well as the chance for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to negotiate a compact with the governor for up to three casinos, but overall, they are shadows of what the House passed.

So now it’s back to the House for the legislation. If the House does not vote in favor of the new versions of the bills – and it sounds like they won’t – the legislation will go to a conference committee comprised of three members of each chamber, who will try to bang out a compromise.


Senate Bill 1949, which aims to legalize sports betting, got through the Senate Taxes Committee, which amended it to increase the tax rate from 10% to 20%. Senators also strengthen its problem gambling provisions.

The biggest sticking point coming out of the committee was the banning of in-game betting. Citing customer safety, Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, the man who introduced the amendment, said it is “one common sense thing for us to adopt.”

On the other hand, Rep. Pat Garofalo, one of the leading proponents of sports betting legalization in the Minnesota Senate, believes prohibiting in-game better would kill the industry before it starts.

“It’s a poison pill— well-intentioned, I’m sure, by the advocates, but it would really be prohibitive,” he told the committee.


The Maryland House needs to work fast if it wants to keep the possibility of legalizing online casino gaming alive. On March 13, HB 1319 made it through the Ways and Means Committee, but for the bill to make it to the Senate, the House needs to pass it by Monday, March 18.

The committee increased the number of online casino licenses from 12 to 30 and banned the use of credit cards for deposits.

pledge 5% of the online gaming revenue to a “social equity” partner

Also added was a tiered licensing system in which the six casinos in the state could have up to three online gaming skins apiece. To get their first license, though, casinos would have to pledge 5% of the online gaming revenue to a “social equity” partner. Upping that pledge to 33% would make the second and third skins available.

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