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A new push for a comprehensive gambling bill

New ads promote the economic impact of approving a comprehensive gambling and lottery bill.

There will be a full push for a comprehensive gaming bill during the 2022 legislative session. 

The Alabama Track Owners Association — a partnership of owners of the four greyhound racing tracks, including the Poarch Creek Indians — are out with new ads on Wednesday that highlight the benefits of the bill and encourage voters to contact their state lawmakers. 

The ads highlight the revenue and jobs associated with the bill and note that the jobs created would be “four automotive manufacturing plants” and generate more than $700 million annually. They also point out that the state of Alabama provided an auto manufacturer with more than $700 million in incentives and tax breaks to bring 4,000 jobs to the state, while the gaming bill will generate that amount annually without a dime of taxpayer funds. 

The ad is referencing the Toyota-Mazda plant near Huntsville, which has been a boon for the North Alabama area and sparked unprecedented economic growth. 

Under the comprehensive gaming bill that lawmakers failed to approve during the last session – but which they feel they have the votes to pass during this session – the state would authorize full casinos at five or six locations, depending on the final version of the bill, and authorize a statewide lottery. 

The resort-style casinos, which would be located at the four existing tracks in Birmingham, Shorter, Eutaw and Mobile — and potentially at existing gaming locations near Dothan and in Lowndes County — are projected to create between 10,000 and 15,000 permanent jobs. Many of those jobs would be in economically depressed areas that lack major industries, another benefit often touted by supporters of the plan. 

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State Sen. Greg Albritton has stated previously that he plans to sponsor the comprehensive gaming bill during the 2022 session. It will be very similar to the bill that passed the Senate in 2021, he said. 

The ads will begin on TV stations around the state on Wednesday.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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