The voters of Alabama will have their say over whether the state should launch its own lottery if a bill introduced by House Representative Alan Harper is passed. Harper will put forward the proposal when the legislative session convenes for 2016 and he has the support of politicians including Mac McCutcheon, who represents District 25. McCutcheon told WAFF â€œI would be in favor of a lottery if the people of Alabama had the right to vote on it.â€
If the bill were to be passed, the vote could take place in November of next year, once details had been worked out as to how it would be run and where the revenue would be distributed. Neighboring state Tennessee, where a significant number of Alabamians travel to play popular draw and instant games, donates a portion of its lottery revenue to grants and scholarships for students in the stateâ€™s educational establishments. Some politicians in the state would rather the proceeds were transferred to the general fund.
Alabama is one of only six states in the US not to offer a lottery to its citizens, the others being Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. A proposal by Senator Paul Sanford that would have seen Alabama join Mega Millions and Powerball was halted in September when the Tourism and Marketing Committee delayed a vote on the measure having debated the bill. Sanford had suggested creating a lottery as an alternative to tax rises in the state.
The public voted against the idea of an Alabama state lottery in a 1999 referendum, but Harper insists that attitudes may have changed and is keen to canvas the opinion of the electorate in 2016, stating, “People have constantly asked us, ‘When are you going to let us vote on a lottery?’ I think it’s time the people had their say.”