By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Changes to the gaming bill introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) received praise from Coach Pat Dye, President at the Alabama Jobs Foundation:
“I am very pleased that Senator Marsh has introduced his education lottery and gaming amendment in the Special Session,” said Dye. “There are significant changes in this new legislation that the Foundation fully supports.”
Introduced on the first day of the 2015 Special Session, SB8 re-shapes some of the fundamentals of the bill Marsh offered in the Regular Session. Chiefly, the revenue from the State lottery would go to education and higher education scholarship programs.
The purpose of the proposed Constitutional Amendment is to: “Establish and provide for a fair and honest lottery to generate revenue for the Education Trust Fund and postsecondary education scholarships; to limit and regulate gaming by the existing racetracks for which gaming is already legal in Alabama; to levy taxes on gaming at those racetracks to generate revenues for the benefit of the State General Fund; and to authorize the Governor to negotiate a compact for gaming with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”
The Alabama Education Lottery proceeds will go to the Education Trust Fund and also fund college and post-secondary scholarships programs like those offered in Georgia. Georgia’s programs have given more than $16 billion to students since its inception.
The new bill expands the oversight commission from 5 members to 7, giving them broader powers to regulate gaming activities and investigate potential wrong doing.
“This new bill strengthens the proposed Alabama Lottery and Gaming Commission, adding law enforcement, legal, economic development and hospitality representatives to the Commission,” said Dye. “More importantly, the lottery is now an education lottery, with proceeds funding public education and a new college scholarship program.”