Alabama, one of the states with stringent laws against any form of gaming, could change its gaming regulation. At present, the only form of gambling allowed is through a Native American casino. But it could change soon.
Some state legislators are urging the citizens of Alabama to vote whether they want to allow gambling in the state. The issue is certain to be subjected to intense debate. Some religious minded groups want it to remain banned, while some in the government see it as a potential revenue-making opportunity in gambling.
Alabama has historically never been a proponent of gambling. Like many areas in the South and Southeast, Alabama is home to a large number of conservative Christians, who believe gambling is a sin. They based their belief on a verse from the Bible, specifically 1 Tim. 6:10, which says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
However, where Christians have a stronger issue is with the different types of gambling. Some Christians believe it should be left up to the individual whether he or she should gamble.
Others do not seem to have a problem with someone who plays a $2 lottery ticket or participates in a small office betting pool for the NCAA tournament. But, they frown upon casino gambling.
The Possibility of Gaming in Alabama
Alabama right now, more than at any other time in its history, may be ripe for a gambling push. First, Alabama only has to look to its neighbours to the east and west to note the enormous amount of money flowing into those states’ coffers. Mississippi allows casinos in the northern part of the state along the Mississippi River, as well as along the Gulf Coast. It reported the casinos brought in more than $2 billion in revenue in 2017. This figure is revenue only, without the added tourism dollars. All the revenue spent in casinos means hundreds of dollars of revenue for Mississippi’s economy, and it is needed. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the nation. The increased revenue flowing into the state has helped with infrastructure, educational, poverty and social programmes.
In contrast, Georgia does not have casino gambling. However, the state has had a lottery for 25 years. All the revenue from the Georgia Lottery is earmarked for two educational programmes: a fully funded Pre-K programme for 4-year-old preschool children statewide and a scholarship programme that allows vocational, two-year and four-year college students to attend state colleges and universities tuition-free. Georgia has received more than $150 billion in the 25 years the programme has been in operation.
Alabama could benefit from the additional services that come from gambling revenue, and some members of the legislature are looking to the potential of the lottery to raise funding for educational and other service programmes. Many Alabamians see no problem with a state lottery with proceeds going to education.
Also, Alabama benefits from tourism dollars. In fact, it relies on it for some of its revenue.
Many people visit the coastline of Alabama for its beaches, so locating one or two casinos in that area could also bring in more tourist dollars.
Some legislators have also noted that Alabama is home to some of the largest sports fanatics in the United States, especially when it comes to college football. Two of the most successful college programmes in history reside in Alabama. Therefore, if the state allowed sports gambling on football, millions of dollars could be raised to benefit state programmes.