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Two bills legalising lottery, casino and sports betting have been passed to Alabama’s State Senate for consideration after being approved in the state’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 151 and House Bill 152, if approved by the senate, would pave the way for the introduction of a state lottery, limited casino gambling and sports betting, and introduce new rules including tax rates to govern the activities.

HB151 was passed last week by 70 votes in favour against 32 in opposition, while HB152 was passed by 67 votes to 31.

“We heard you loud and clear from the polling, and we’re giving the citizens the right to decide what they want in the state as it relates to gaming,” said Republican Alabama State Representative Chris Blackshear, who sponsored the bill, after it was approved.

The bills will now head to the Alabama Senate for consideration. If approved there, they will be put to a statewide vote later this year.

If approved by a majority of Alabama’s population, the legislation would be passed to Governor Kay Ivey to be signed into law.

Ivey has already expressed her support for the bills in their current form.

“The proposal passed by the House will clean up and crack down on the rampant illegal gambling and will give Alabamians the opportunity to have their say on regulated, limited forms of gaming,” she said in a statement last week.

Bill contents

HB152, which sets out the details of what a regulated gambling sector in Alabama could look like, offers some insights into what operators in the state could expect if the bills are passed.

For the operators of casinos, or “casino-style gaming establishments”, a minimum $5m licence fee would be applied, and a maximum of seven licences would be issued.

One of those licences would be reserved for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Gaming services providers would also need to seek licensure in the state and pay any associated fees, as would any prospective sports betting operators.

Further, the bill would see a 24% tax on net gaming revenue (NGR) established for casino-style gaming, which is estimated would generate between $315m and $492.2m in tax revenue annually for the state.

Sports betting, meanwhile, would be taxed at 17% of NGR, which would generate an estimated $15m-$41.5m in additional tax revenue annually, according to HB152.

Further, the bill would establish the Alabama Lottery Corporation to run lottery games throughout the state, which would contribute an additional estimated $305.6m-$379.4m to Alabama’s finances each year.

A new regulator, the Alabama Gaming Commission, would be established to oversee the sector, and would receive powers to issue fines to non-compliant companies up to a value of $100,000.

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