Bentley details lottery plan

Published 10:55 am Friday, August 5, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley this morning released the details of the constitutional amendment he is proposing to establish a state lottery.

Governor-Robert-BentleyBentley had already announced a special session of the Alabama legislature beginning Aug. 15 to consider a lottery, but he had not previously shared any details.

The proposed amendment would amend the constitution to allow a state lottery:

• Proceeds would first fund lottery operations;

• Other proceeds would go to the state’s General Fund.

• A seven-member Lottery Commission would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

• The Lottery Commission would have the authority to enter reciprocal agreements.

The amendment would have to be approved by statewide vote. If the proposal gets legislative approval by Aug. 24, the measure could appear on the November General Election ballot.

The proposed amendment also states, “Nothing in this amendment affects, prohibits, or limits any activity which was legal at the time this amendment becomes effective, including, without limitation, pari-mutuel betting and nonprofit, traditional bingo, as provided for by specific law or laws. Further, nothing in this amendment authorizes any other activity beyond the Alabama Lottery authorized by this amendment. “

However, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act says federally-recognized Indian tribes may conduct any kind of gaming that is allowed by state law, with some conditions. A lottery is considered Class III gaming, which has been interpreted to be the same as casino-style gaming.

The Poarch Creek Indians already operate Class II gaming (electronic bingo) in casino-like settings. Tribal leaders previously have said that a lottery would open the door for them to expand their gaming operations.