Crucial Vote On Alabama Lottery Due

Wednesday May 15th 2019 Crucial Vote On Alabama Lottery Due

A bill allowing for the formation of an Alabama lottery is set to be considered by the state’s House of Representatives. The bill narrowly passed a vote in the Alabama Senate; if passed by the House, the bill could go to public ballot in 2020.

Senator Greg Albritton is the sponsor of the Alabama lottery bill, which was passed by a vote of 21-12 on April 26th, 2019. The bill allows for the formation of a paper-only lottery, with provisions for electronic purchasing added as an amendment. The formation of a lottery in Alabama would also pave the way for multi-state lotteries Powerball and Mega Millions to be played in the state.

 

The bill was considered by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on Wednesday May 15th. They approved the bill, but with some amendments - chiefly to the allocation of lottery revenue. A House vote is now predicted to take place in the week commencing Monday 20th May.

Alabama Lottery Bill Amendments

The original bill specifies that Alabama lottery revenue would initially pay off state debt before being diverted to the General Fund, while the House amendment, sponsored by General Fund Committee Chair Rep. Steve Clouse and approved by the House committee, will place 25% of the proceeds into the education budget.

Even if the House approves the bill, the Senate will have to vote to approve the changes made before it can progress. The last time Alabama lawmakers considered amending the state’s constitution to allow for a lottery was in 2016, when House amendments caused the bill to lose support and eventually die.

Of the changes, Sen. Albritton said: “With the changes [the House Committee] made, I’ve already lost three to four votes that I had [in the Senate]. I’m not sure where I’m going to make it up.”

Mississippi Lottery Board Appoints New President

The Mississippi Lottery Board has appointed the first president of the state’s lottery corporation. Thomas N. Shaheen was the Executive Director of the North Carolina Lottery from its beginnings in 2005, and will start with the Mississippi Lottery Corporation on June 1st. Shaheen’s hiring is the latest in a series of developments for the lottery, which is expected to launch later this year.

The formation of a state lottery was approved by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, August 28th 2018, after a special vote approved the Mississippi Lottery bill with just four votes to spare. Since then, a committee has been formed, comprising five CEOs and leaders from various companies and funds across the state. The Board was tasked with overseeing the preliminary steps to creating the lottery – including the formation of a corporation to run it.

1500 Retailers Expected to Apply

As president, Shasheen will be responsible for coordinating the lottery’s launch, from commissioning scratchcard designs and lottery technology to retailer vetting and training. Around 1500 retailers are expected to apply to sell lottery tickets; “the quicker we get those vendors on board, the quicker we can get sales started”, said Shaheen.

The Mississippi Lottery is estimated to bring in $40 million in revenue in its first year of operation, with much of the money slated to be spent on the state’s ailing infrastructure - over 400 bridges have been closed statewide, on account of being unsafe to cross.

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