Alabama Lawmakers Expected to Consider State Lottery During Upcoming Legislative Session

Alabama Lawmakers Expected to Consider State Lottery During Upcoming Legislative Session

Lottery fever consumed America leading up to the recent $1.5 billion Powerball drawing, but Alabama residents were left out of the fun.


According to local news affiliate WFOK, that could all change if a proposal to create a lottery within the state is passed during an upcoming legislative session.


The frenzy that surrounded the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot certainly helped the case for a lottery in Alabama, but many local politicians say that it’s a long time coming.


“It has a greater chance of happening this time than it has in the past,” said Rep. A.J. McCampbell from Demopolis.


While it isn’t a guarantee, rumors have been swirling for months that adding a state lottery will be a major talking point at the Alabama legislative session. The average adult owes $3,761 in revolving credit to lenders, and many Alabamians are clamoring for a chance to clear their debts and start life anew.


The current lottery proposal would require a vote from the people of Alabama. If passed, Alabama legislators would then get to choose how and where funding from the lottery is used.


“That’s the other issue with this current lottery bill,” said McCampbell, “It’s just one where they’re saying that ‘we’ll allow the people to decide whether or not they want a lottery in the state of Alabama,’ and then the legislature would come back in and make decisions on how to use the funding.”


Deciding how to best use the funds acquired from a state lottery is what has delayed legislative efforts in the past. If recent sessions are any indication, Alabama residents shouldn’t expect a definitive solution any time soon.


According to AL.com, it took legislators nearly seven months and two sessions to pass a state budget in 2015. While there were clearly some tough decisions to be made, it is this lack of urgency that many blame for the absence of a lottery in Alabama.


However, lawmakers from both parties maintain that this will be the year that a lottery proposal is sent to voters. Currently, Alabama is one of only six states that do not have a lottery. The others include Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Utah, and Nevada.


In addition to considering a lottery, legislators will also be discussing a pay raise for state teachers and a gasoline tax increase during the upcoming session.


The session will kick off on Feb. 2 at the state capitol in Montgomery.