HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Sports gambling is a popular and growing industry.
The practice is currently illegal in Alabama, but more than 30 states across the country allow it, including neighboring Tennessee and Mississippi.
“Now the will of the people is that they want a lottery, they want a casino, they want the whole gambit,” State Representative John Rogers. “And it happens anyway because they go to other states to participate.”
Rogers is fighting for people’s right to gamble in the state, arguing that Alabama allows other states to benefit from allowing people to bet or play the lottery. He says that people will find a way to gamble one way or another.
“The FBI said Alabama has the highest percentage of illegal gambling of any state in the union,” he said.
In Tennessee, legalized sports gambling added an additional $73 million in taxes, with bookies bringing in more than $400 million to the state.
Alabama State Senator Greg Albritton says not having sports gambling in the state has cost the state at least $800 million in potential revenue. Last year, he sponsored a bill that would have allowed sports gambling, but it failed.
He says he expects to see more gambling bills after the legislative session begins Tuesday.
“I believe there will be at least one, probably closer to five different gaming bills that will be thrown out in the House and Senate,” Albritton said. “My intention is to take each of them as they come and try to combine them into a comprehensive bill that the state needs.”
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