House version of full gaming bills includes key Senate variants, provides significant funding for ‘health services’
Later this week, the House of Representatives is expected to hold a floor vote on a so-called comprehensive gambling proposal, which, if passed, would be a key step towards the proliferation of legal gambling in the state of l ‘Alabama.
However, the version being considered by the House appears to have significant differences from the bill passed by the Alabama Senate last month.
According to sources familiar with the legislation, the first bills and supporting documents appear to come from Gov. Kay Ivey’s office. Yellowhammer News obtained copies of the legislation and supporting documents for review by members of the Alabama House.
Highlights as follows:
Senate bills provide for the creation of an Alabama Education Lottery Corporation to administer the lottery. In the Senate version of the legislation, three members are appointed by the governor, one by the lieutenant governor, one by the acting president of the Alabama Senate, one by the president of Alabama House, and one by the attorney. general of the state.
According to the House’s proposal, the seven members are appointed by the Governor “with the advice and consent of the Senate”. The House version also establishes the Commissioner of Revenue, the Director of Finance and the State Treasurer as ex officio non-voting members.
Each member under the Senate bill would serve a five-year term. However, according to the House version, the member “may be removed by the governor for reason of limited conduct”.
Under the Senate bill, a retail lottery advisory board is appointed by members of the Alabama legislature. However, the House version of the bill eliminates the board.
Another significant difference between the House and Senate proposals is the legal age to be eligible to play the lottery in Alabama. Under the Senate, retailers are prohibited from selling to those under the age of 21. In the House version, the age is 19.
Lottery proceeds in the Senate version are split evenly between the education trust fund (70% allocated to primary and secondary education and 30% to higher education) and a post-secondary scholarship fund . The House bill completely transfers funds to scholarships with varying ranges of eligibility for recipients.
Similar to the Lottery Corporation, the Senate effort creates the Alabama Gaming Commission, which includes two governor appointments, one from the Speaker of the House, one from the House Minority Leader, and one from the Speaker of the Senate. Pro-Tem, one of the Senate minority. Chief and one by the Lieutenant Governor. However, the House version allows for the appointment of these seven members only by the governor, with input from the leadership in the Alabama legislature, which would nominate candidates.
Under the Senate bill, a gaming advisory board is created with board appointments made by various members of the state government, ranging from the governor to the director of the Alabama Department of Tourism. However, in the House bill, there is no advisory board of the Alabama Gaming Commission.
Under the Senate proposal, casino licenses would be offered for locations that would include Jefferson County, Macon County, Mobile County, Greene County, Houston County, and a location in Jackson Counties or DeKalb and would be offered in a quasi-competitive process.
The House bill defines specific sites in these counties, but includes a list of criteria to be considered in the competitive licensing process, as follows:
• The license fees of the potential casino operator.
• Its experience in the operation of pari-mutuels betting, casino type games and sports betting.
• Its familiarity with the local market.
• Its existing or past investments in the relevant jurisdiction.
• Its links with the community and its support.
• His anticipated annual income.
• Its commitment to make capital investments.
• Its commitment to employ local citizens.
• Its plans to recruit a diverse workforce.
• Its track record in hiring, developing and promoting a diverse workforce.
• Its commitment to providing certain amenities, such as hotels and restaurants.
• Its security and logistics plans.
• Its plans to facilitate responsible gambling.
Distribution of gaming revenue:
The Senate is proposing revenue split percentages, with a one-time spend of $ 750 million for IT infrastructure that would improve rural broadband access statewide. Beyond administration costs, the Senate would distribute revenue before meeting the $ 750 million appropriation as follows: 65% for IT infrastructure, 25% for health care / rural health care, and 10% for mental health care.
Once the $ 750 million is reached, the breakdown changes as follows: 25% for capital / non-recurring expenses, 25% for health care / rural health care, 10% for IT infrastructure, 15% for infrastructure, 15% for mental health care and 10% would go to cities / counties administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
In the House bill, money is set aside for local governments near casinos. However, a whopping 40% would go to what are described as “health care services”, and all other funds could be used for “other one-time expenses that serve a public purpose”.
A 20% tax is levied on the proceeds of sports betting in the Senate version. The House bill increases this total to 23%.
Compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians:
The Senate bill requires the governor to negotiate a pact for the operation of casino games on tribal lands. However, the House version softens the language to say that the governor “may negotiate”.
Full comparison of SB319, SB309, SB310 and SB311 as adopted by the Senate versus the House proposal:
House project replacements:
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Southern Alabama, editor-in-chief of Breitbart TV, columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from Mobile 9 am to 12 pm on FM Talk 106.5.