The fate of sports betting in Alabama may have played out on Election Day. And that isn't necessarily a good thing. In fact, looking at the 2022 Alabama election results, it definitely isn't a good thing.
Like we've noted previously, the legalization of online sports betting in Alabama is not an issue that can be made or broken with one decision. Successful initiatives require some level of bi-partisan support regardless of the state in which you reside. No single person can shape—or, more critically, submarine—an entire proposal.
However, an entire political party can absolutely put a stop to sports betting bills if they're aligned on the subject and own a majority rule inside their state. And following the 2022 Alabama election results, that is exactly what's set to be at play over the next few years.
2022 Alabama Elections Results Heavily Favor Anti-Sports Betting Officials
For as long as we can remember, Alabama has voted for Republican candidates. The state is historically conservative and remains slow to move off preexisting stances to this day. They will often be among the last states to adopt more liberal or progressive agendas—if they adopt them at all.
This includes legal Alabama sports betting. Select officials have tried on numerous occasions to get the ball rolling only to be stymied at every turn. It's no coincidence that this is happening in such a Republican-centric state. They are the party that has typically warmed up to legal online sports betting in the United States the least.
Incidentally, this is to some extent why we have seen an uptick in Democratic support from some traditionally "Red" states. North Carolina has become perhaps the perfect example. They moved away from their vote-for-all-Republicans model gradually and have since implemented more flexible sports betting policies, not to mention other more contemporary laws.
That isn't happening in Alabama. Heck, it's not even kind of happening. Among the five major seats that were voted upon during the November 8 elections, all of them went to Republican candidates. Not only that, but no Democratic candidate received even 31 percent of the popular vote in their respective category. If nothing else, this yet again proves that Alabama remains overwhelmingly committed to the Republican party.
It is unreasonable to expect this to change anytime in the near future. Again: Alabama is a state that has long been set in their political ways. That's how it is in some places. So, if they're going to legalize sports betting, they will need the Republican party to take a stronger interest in both pushing and supporting the issue.
Senator Greg Albritton May Hold Key to Alabama Sports Betting
While this runs contrary to much of what we've just said, endorsements of legal sports betting from Republicans is not unheard of. As we noted at the top of this discussion, pretty much all of the initiatives that were passed in the United States over the past half-decade have required some semblance of bi-partisan support. Certain states like Wyoming and Nevada have actually needed the lion's share of the work to be done and advocated for by the Republican party.
Alabamans holding out hope for legal sports betting can find comfort in those places. They must also look to Senator Greg Albritton, the state's biggest and potentially only serious Republican supporter of legal sports betting.
Earlier this year, Albritton proposed numerous bills aimed at bringing more commercial casinos, legal sports betting, and a state lottery to Alabama. He was ultimately unsuccessful. But after being re-elected in a landslide victory, he's made it clear he'll continue to push the agenda.
Albritton's stance on the matter can be summed up thusly: Sports betting is already taking place inside Alabama. We might as well capitalize on it by being able to tax it. He's not wrong, either. So many states that resist legal sports betting fail to understand the dynamics at play. Their stubbornness doesn't actually stop it. Alabama residents can travel to neighboring states with legal sports betting. They can also sign up with plenty of reputable sites, such as any of the ones that appear in our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. Many will even resort to using illegal bookies.
Alabama Legal Sports Betting Still a Long Ways Off
Indeed, there are valid discussions to be had about legal sports betting. Can advertisements and commercial casinos be predatory? Does the state have the infrastructure necessary to help combat any uptick in gambling addictions? Do they have a plan for how to use the tax revenue? Are they committed to setting up a licensing and compliance process that is both effective and streamlined? These conversations are all fair game.
The thing is, Alabama doesn't seem to be having them. Never mind the 2022 Alabama election results. The state has been relatively non-committal to the sports betting subject for years now. Albritton alone seems to be pushing for it to become a topic worth prioritizing.
Can he be successful entering 2023? We have our doubts. He'll have to sway a bunch of officials in his own party who seem devoutly against sports betting, in large part because they don't like the idea of amending the state constitution. And if Albritton cannot get his peers on board in time to approve a sports betting bill for the 2024 election ballot, the earliest it can be realistically be legalized and implemented is sometime in 2026.
So, yeah, you might say the 2022 Alabama election results were a big deal. Or rather, that they were a big setback.
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