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State Legislature Denies Lottery Bill for Another Year
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State Legislature Denies Lottery Bill for Another Year

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Lottery play is the most common and popular form of gambling throughout the U.S. — but, for another year running, it won’t get the seal of approval from Alabama lawmakers.

The proposed lottery bill from Governor Robert Bentley was voted down in the state Senate last week, after significant changes were made following its approval in the state House of Representatives.

Even so, it’s perhaps the closest a state lottery bill has come to passing through legislature since the last time the general public was allowed to vote on the issue (and said “No”) in 1999.

Gov. Bentley advocated for the bill, hoping to use the revenue generated by a lottery to provide much-needed funding for Medicaid and other state programs. He expressed open disappointment at its failure to pass through legislature.

“I can’t accept that as a doctor and I can’t accept it as the governor of this state,” he said at a press conference following the Senate vote. “Because one of the things we have to do as a government is this: There are people in this state who cannot take care of themselves. And there are people who depend on government and the government is us.”

Representative Paul Lee of Dothan, who opposed the lottery, maintained that too little information was provided in the wording of the bill for it to be executed successfully.

“There were simple things not in this bill that would be in a normal bill. What are the limitations on how old you must be to play? How much will a lottery ticket cost?” Lee said. “…I don’t have all the answers, but you are basically gambling to see if a lottery makes money to begin with. I do think it is a sad day to have to depend on a lottery to balance the budget.”

Legislators will now need to find an alternative way to fill the anticipated $85 million shortfall in Medicaid funding for 2017. A new bill that would distribute settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill is currently up for vote in the Senate.