MONTGOMERY (TAB) — The two lottery bills that have been circling the special session called by Gov. Robert Bentley on Aug. 15 will come to a vote this afternoon, according to Sen. Del Marsh.
The special session was specifically called to find funding for the $85 million Medicaid budget shortage.
Both proposals are constitutional amendments that would create a statewide and Powerball lottery as well as a commission to oversee and regulate the gambling system.
But McClendon’s proposal expands the lottery by allowing electronic lottery terminals — machines resembling slot machines but considered Class II gambling like electronic bingo — at VictoryLand, Greenetrack, the Birmingham Race Course and the Mobile Greyhound Park. It also would allow the state to negotiate a gambling compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
McClendon claims his proposal would raise about $427 million, sending $327 million to the General Fund and $100 million toward education. His plan also would create a bond issue paid off with gambling revenue. The bonds would be used to pay the Medicaid shortfall. Bentley’s proposal — said to generate $225 million — would send all proceeds to the General Fund.
Bentley and McClendon both promised their proposals do not open the door for casino gambling in the state, but the broad definition of “lottery” as any game of chance makes those promises unlikely to be kept.
The Alabama Baptist will continue to follow the special session and update the story as information becomes available.