Kay Ivey, governor of Alabama, has issued an executive order to create a “study group” to investigate the effects of gambling reform in the state.
The Governor’s Study Group on Gambling Policy will be tasked with submitting a report to the governor, state legislature and public by the end of the year.
This report will look into the current state of gambling policy in Alabama, the costs and benefits of gambling expansion and possible regulatory frameworks for gambling in the state. The group may make recommendations but the executive order specifies that it is not required to do so.
Currently, Alabama only allows charitable raffles and pari-mutuel betting.
In her executive order, Governor Ivey noted that the people of Alabama have not voted directly on a gambling-related proposal since 1999 and that 180 bills related to gambling have been introduced in the Alabama legislature since that date.
“[The] economic, social and political implications of gambling continue to be debated by proponents and opponents”, she added. All four states to border Alabama – Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee – offer some sort of legal gambling, which many citizens cross state lines to take advantage of.
Ivey said she believed the question of gambling expansion should be decided by the people of Alabama. As Alabama’s constitution bans lotteries and “gift enterprises” which include many forms of casino gambling, an amendment would likely be required to pass new gambling legislation.
If three-fifths of the Alabama state legislators approve a proposed constitutional amendment, it is put on the ballot where voters must approve it by a simple majority.
The governor will select the members of the group and the date of the first meeting. All following meetings will be called by the group chair.