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New Alabama bill targets legal sports betting


Alabama’s House of Representatives is to run the rule over a new bill that aims to legalize land-based and mobile sports wagering in the US state.

Sponsored by Representative John Rogers, House Bill 336 is currently with the House committee on Economic Development and Tourism after being introduced late last week.

The bill states that consumers would be able to place sports bets in person at approved locations across Alabama, as well as on mobile and other digital platforms when located inside the state.

Should the bill pass into law, a total of four relevant licenses would be on offer to operators interested in offering sports betting in Alabama. The Alabama Sports Wagering Commission would be created as part of the bill and be responsible for awarding licenses.

An operator license would allow the holder to run sports wagering at a licensed gaming facility in the state, while a supplier license would permit the holder to supply an approved facility with sports betting equipment or services.

Meanwhile, an occupational license would be available to racetracks and gaming facilities to offer sports wagering within a designated gaming area, while a new management license would allow the holder to provide management services to a licensed facility.

New operator licenses would cost an initial $100,000 and run for five years, after which a renewal fee of $1000,000 would be due every five years. Applicants for supplier licenses would need to pay an initial $1,000, plus an annual renewal fee of $1,000.

An occupational license would be priced at just $100, plus an annual renewal fee of $100, while management licenses would cost $1,000 to apply for, then $1,000 each year to renew.

In terms of tax, operators would pay weekly at a rate of 10% on adjusted gross wagering receipts. Funds collected from taxation would be deposited in the new Alabama Sports Wagering Fund, which would also be created as part of the bill.

Legal sports betting in Alabama would be limited to players at least 21 years of age. Wagering would be permitted on all professional sports an athletics events, as well as collegiate sport and athletics, motor racing and all other sports events approved by the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission.

Should HB 336 secure approval from the House, Senate and Governor, it would come into effect on the first day of the third month following its passage.

It remains to be seen what sort of prospects of passing into law the bill has, with Governor Kay Ivey setting up a study group to investigate the positive and negative impacts of gambling regulatory overhaul in February.

The Study Group on Gambling Policy has been tasked with looking into the current state of gambling policy in Alabama, the costs and benefits of gambling expansion and possible new regulatory frameworks. The group may make recommendations but the executive order specifies that it is not required to do so.