Sports Betting Bill Dead in Mississippi, Alabama Gambling Expansion Misses By One Vote

  • Mississippi lawmakers had concerns about the impact on existing casinos
  • Online sportsbooks could have generated $25m in tax revenue each year
  • Attempts to legalize a state lottery in Alabama fell short by one Senate vote
Person putting crumpled paper in the garbage
Online sports betting will have to wait another year in Mississippi and an attempt to push through a state lottery bill in Alabama came up a vote short. [Image:]

No luck

Attempts to push through gambling expansion bills in Mississippi and Alabama were unsuccessful in recent days.

concerns over the impact on existing commercial casinos

People in the Magnolia State will have to wait until at least 2025 before online sports betting legalization is up for discussion again. Both the Senate and House passed certain versions of the Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act this year, but concerns over the impact on existing commercial casinos led to an impasse.

Lawmakers in Alabama were trying to pass bills that would create a state lottery and legalize electronic games at certain facilities in the state. While the House passed both bills, they came up a single vote short in the Senate.

Inability to find a middle ground

Online sportsbooks are currently up and running in 30 US states and Mississippi was looking to join the crowd. Although retail sportsbooks have operated there since August 2018, attempts to allow online platforms have been met with fierce resistance.

Mississippi residents search for black market betting sites on Google more than people in any other state

The most recent bill would have allowed sportsbook operators to partner with land-based casinos in the state and the sector could have generated more than $25m in tax revenue annually. Lawmakers in favor of legalization cited research that said that Mississippi residents search for black market betting sites on Google more than people in any other state.

Smaller casinos expressed concerns about not getting sportsbook partners and this ultimately led to a stalemate. Negotiators had until midnight on Monday to file an amended bill for consideration in the two chambers, but they did not do so before the deadline.

Up in the air in Alabama

Alabama is one of just five states without a lottery, which House Bills 151 and 152 were looking to change. They were approved in a Conference Committee on Tuesday and would have directed all of the profits from the lottery to educational programs.

The legislation would have also paved the way for the introduction of certain types of electronic games at racetracks and bingo halls. The latest versions did not mention anything about legalizing table games or sports betting.

The House passed both bills with overwhelming support and House Speaker Nathanial Ledbetter expressed his hope that Alabamians would have the chance to vote on a state lottery for the first time in 25 years. He made these comments before a late meeting of the Senate on Tuesday night that saw House Bill 151 miss out by just a single vote. Senators have another four days to vote again on the matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *