Alabama sets up advisory body for “fresh perspective” on gambling

The Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming, set up by Governor Robert Bentley, will look at potential changes to the laws, including assessing the taxes generated from gambling, evaluating best practice in other states, and comparing Alabama's laws to applicable federal gaming laws.

It comes after an attempt to establish a state lottery, put forward by Bentley as a way to raise additional funds for healthcare, prisons and other government agencies, failed to pass in a special session of the Alabama legislature last month. In addition, there remain ongoing questions regarding the legality of electronic bingo following a recent decision by state's Attorney General Luther Strange who declared it to be illegal under Alabama law.

The council will be made up of seven individuals appointed by Bentley; two members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker of the House (one Democrat and one Republican) and two Senators chosen by the legislative house's President Pro Tempore.

It will also include one representative of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association and one representative of the Alabama District Attorney's Association. Both these individuals will be appointed by Bentley.

"Gaming in Alabama has been a long-term subject of dispute and controversy," Governor Bentley said. "This Council will work to provide a fresh perspective on past efforts and a clear path forward as it pertains to gaming in the State of Alabama."

No date has been set for Bentley to name his appointees, or the details of the first meeting. However the Council aims to present its initial findings and recommendations on gaming to Bentley, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House, by January 31st next year.


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