History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Alabama
Alabama has a promising sports betting future, but current prospects of sports betting in the state are limited. As a whole, the southern portion of the United States has been slow to include sports betting in their part of the country. The main reason for this has been political contention over sports betting between the Republicans and Democrats.
Sports betting became legal throughout the United States in 2018 when the Supreme Court brought an end to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA was passed by the federal government in 1992 and it banned any form of sports betting throughout the majority of the United States.
Legal sports betting is starting to become America’s new normal. Some southern states have made more progress than others when it comes to enacting the form of gambling. Development in Alabama’s sports betting legislation was propelled when border states, Mississippi and Tennessee, legalized the form of gambling in their states.
The sports betting discussions have stalled as of December 2020, but they will resume at some point in 2021. Alabama is losing tax revenue to Mississippi and Tennessee when residents cross the border to gamble. This has changed the thought process of legislators in the state, but more support is still needed to legalize sports betting.
What Sports Betting Bill in Alabama Says
There have been two proposed sports betting bills in Alabama since 2019. In 2019, House Bill 315 was proposed. This bill didn’t get through the committee stage of the legalization process. The framework of the bill was included in the 2020 legislation, House Bill 336. This is the bill that’s currently being discussed in the Alabama legislature.
House Bill 336 stalled in committee in March, but it hasn’t been shot down just yet. Soon after the bill stalled, the Alabama legislature went remote and had to figure out a way to deal with the COVID pandemic in the state. The bill was very similar to a lot of other states where sports betting is legal. It allowed sportsbook providers to operate in retail locations and through online platforms.
If the bill passed, the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission would be created to oversee the entire market. They would be at the forefront of sports betting legislation if House Bill 336 passed. Four operators would be allowed to run sportsbooks in the state. These companies would have to make a proposal to the Sports Wagering Commission. The group would have the ability to grant licensure to sportsbooks who wanted to enter Alabama. Not all legislators thought a single committee should have the final say in what sportsbooks can operate in the state. This is one of many issues that caused House Bill 336 to stall.
What’s Holding Sports Betting Bill Back in Alabama
Like many other areas in the south, the Alabama culture is the biggest reason that sports betting is not being pushed through the government with ease. Southeastern states are traditionally a red area of the country or a swing state. As a collective group, Republicans have a different mentality surrounding sports betting than Democrats.
Alabama is one of the strictest gambling states in America. The state still doesn’t have a lottery system. They’re one of the last states in the country to not offer a lottery. There are no commercial casinos in Alabama, but there are three tribal casinos in the state. Gambling culture is virtually nonexistent, so the idea that sports betting is realistic down the road is actually uncharacteristic of the state.
In 2019, the state legalized daily fantasy sports. Fantasy sports are considered a game of skill throughout the majority of the country, but Alabama considered it gambling until 2019. When the COVID pandemic is financially under control in Alabama, sports betting is expected to be one of the biggest topics on the docket in the new year.
The legalization of sports betting in Tennessee and Mississippi helped sports betting garner support in the Alabama congress. Also, sports betting could fill a financial hole that was formed because of extensive COVID relief spending. If the state introduced a lottery, sports betting, and gave commercial casinos a pass to the state, the government would create a massive spike in tax revenue of up to $700 million per year.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Alabama
There aren’t any professional sports teams in the state of Alabama. However, Alabama is the home of an extensive amount of Division I colleges. The two most popular schools in the state are the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Alabama has a tremendous sports culture, and this is evident with the local support of the Crimson Tide and Tigers.
Alabama football is a powerhouse in the SEC. The Auburn Tigers are also very competitive in the conference, but they’ve consistently been a step below the Crimson Tide in the past decade. Alabama is coached by Nick Saban, who is the second coming of Bear Bryant at the university. The team has won 17 National Championships. In bowl games, the school has a record of 42-26-3. Two Heisman Trophy winners and 74 All-Americans have come out of the University of Alabama in program history.
The Auburn Tigers football team is Alabama’s main rival. The two teams compete each year in the Iron Bowl. Auburn has an all-time record of 780-443-47. The team has won 16 SEC titles and two National Championships. Their most recent National Championship came in 2010 when Cam Newton was playing quarterback for the Tigers. Newton won the Heisman Trophy that season. He was the third Tiger in program history to be awarded the Heisman.
Alabama Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Alabama?
Sports betting is not legal in Alabama. There have been multiple pieces of legislation proposed, but they have all stalled in the committee phase of legalization.
What’s holding Alabama sports betting back in the state?
There are some fundamental disagreements in the state legislature. Alabama culture isn’t very open to any form of gambling. Traditional mindsets in the state government have delayed sports betting legislation.
Is there a projected launch date for Alabama sports betting?
No, it’s too early to determine when sports betting will be legalized in the state. The future appears to be bright because Tennessee and Mississippi, which border the state, have legalized sports betting. Additionally, COVID funding took a toll on the state’s budget, so sports betting could help fill this void.
What’s the legal betting age in Alabama?
The minimum betting age in Alabama is 19 years of age.
Will you be able to bet on local college teams in the state?
When sports betting is legalized, it’s expected that you’ll be able to bet on in state colleges. The state has no professional sports franchises, so college sports are very popular. This would help propel sports betting, but nothing is certain just yet.