Senator Greg Albritton Not Happy Alabama Sports Betting Initiative Failed Again

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 8, 2024 08:00 PM
Senator Greg Albritton Not Happy Alabama Sports Betting Initiative Failed Again

We now know there will be no Alabama sports betting legalization in 2024. And state Senator Greg Albritton isn’t happy about it. 

Of course, this isn’t particularly surprising. Senator Albritton has long ranked among the strongest and most vocal proponents for sports betting in Alabama. He has also framed his support in various different ways. This includes concerns about residents of the Crimson State turning to unregulated sports gambling, and the potential revenue Alabama is losing to neighboring states and offshore operators. On the heels of the latest failed bid, Senator Albritton has likewise expressed frustration about limiting constituents as well as not allowing them a large enough say in the matter. (The latter suggests he believes an Alabama sports betting bill should appear on an electoral ballot. This way, voters will get to decide on its fate.)

Experts widely agree that sports betting in the Crimson State is inevitable. The path there may not be easy, but state legislatures have debated the matter in numerous years. While repeated failures are not exactly encouraging, they do nod toward material interest in legal sports betting. 

Still, this doesn’t mean Senator Albritton, and those who share his views, are latching on to the potential positives. This time in particular, Alabama sports betting supporters seem annoyed at how the process played out.

Senator Albritton Feels ‘Disappointment’ After Latest Alabama Sports Betting Attempt

Shortly after the Alabama state legislature adjourned, Senator Albritton commented on yet another failed sports betting bid. Here’s what he had to say (via FOX 10 News):

“‘Disappointment,” stated Senator Greg Albritton (R)- Atmore, expressing his frustration at the bill’s demise. This is a very controversial, difficult, complicated task of getting this accomplished. If it was easy, we would have done it long ago.’”

These sentiments are mostly borne from the changes that were made to the initial proposal. The original package faced little resistance in the House of Representatives. That version would have legalized sports, a state lottery and as many as 10 casinos in the state

Upon reaching the Senate, though, the 2024 Alabama sports betting proposal underwent a series of changes. By the end of them, legal sports betting was completely stripped from the package. Also, legalized casino gambling was changed to legal horse race betting only. 

Did the Adjusted Alabama Gambling Bill Ever Stand a Chance of Legalization?

This revised Alabama gaming bill was rejected by the House once the Senate returned it. However, the two sides worked out a compromised version. And as it turns out, it nearly made it out of both chambers. According to Representative Barbara Drummond of Mobile, Alabama, the bill fell one vote shy of approval.

Somewhat surprisingly, Senator Albritton did not vote in favor of the altered proposal. Ultimately, he had too many issues with the changes. He outlined them afterward (via FOX 10 News):

“‘The compromise completely left out, ignored, sports gaming. Sports gaming is an ever-growing, huge business in Alabama. Much of it is illegal and undercover. We just refuse to regulate it, to control it,’ he explained. Then, he says he disagreed with the plan to expand Alabama’s seven casinos. ‘They expanded the seven casinos that we’ve got—far beyond what they’re doing now—into almost full-blown casinos without requiring any new investment or anything else involved in that new expansion,’ he said. Finally, Sen. Albritton claims the scaled-back version of the bill restricted his constituents, the Poarch Creek Indians. ‘Not only were they cut out from being a participant in this industry on a private basis, but they were restricted from ever being able to enter a compact to be able to find a path to that.’”

These seem like valid issues from our 10,000-foot view. Even if you can get past Alabama removing language that would allow online sportsbooks in the USA to enter the market, the casino expansion plans on top of the restrictions placed upon the Poarch Creek Indians don’t make much sense.  

What Does the Alabama Sports Betting Timeline Look Like Now?

The Alabama sports betting timeline officially feels like it’s in a weird place.

On the one hand, as Rep. Drummond noted, this year’s gaming bill fell just one vote short. On the other hand, the final version of the initiative was barely recognizable from the original. This could mean that the legalization of Alabama sports betting is further away than the final tally implies.

And yet, the constant dialogue on the subject seems to bode well for sports betting supporters. Even Senator Albritton has acknowledged the state seems “close” to sports betting legalization. But good luck putting a specific timeline on that transition.

Perhaps next year’s round of discussions will play out differently. However, even if they do, the wait could still be a while. Remember, the legalization of Alabama sports betting could wind up requiring a constitutional amendment. And if that’s the case, an approved bill must appear on an electoral ballot for voters to deliberate. 

That is perhaps why Senator Albritton is so disappointed. The next general election takes place this coming November. Now, should Alabama sports betting require a constitutional amendment, it cannot be voted on until the 2026 general election. And from there, it will be a matter of months—or more—before Alabama sports betting can launch. 

At this rate, then, we’d be surprised if Crimson Tide residents are able to place legal wagers inside the state before 2027.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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