Debate on gambling, abortion ban continues in Alabama Legislature

Debate on gambling, abortion ban continues in Alabama Legislature

A bill to exempt daily fantasy sports from state prohibitions on gambling passed the Alabama House of Representatives May 8 in a 74–22 vote.

House Bill 361 would allow daily fantasy sports websites like FanDuel and DraftKings to operate legally in the state. The games allow participants to place bets in online sports-related contests and win money based on individual and team performance in real-life games. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette), says daily fantasy sports are games of skill not chance, a position contrary to past statements from the office of the Alabama Attorney General that the paid games constitute illegal gambling under Alabama’s Constitution.

Senate Bill 220, which would take the issue of whether Alabama should establish a lottery to a statewide vote, is progressing in the House. The bill passed the Senate on April 25. 

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee adopted a substitute bill May 9 which changes the distribution of net lottery revenues specified in the Senate version. If the committee approves the bill, it will go to the full House for a vote. If the House version passes and the two versions can be reconciled, the proposed constitutional amendment would be on the ballot in March 2020.

A Senate vote on House Bill 314, which would criminalize performing an abortion in Alabama, was delayed May 9. The Senate version included exceptions for cases of rape and incest but those exemptions were stripped during Senate debate. 

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) has said she opposes such amendments. The exceptions were stripped from the bill without a roll call vote, prompting a challenge from Senate Democrats. 

Three bills related to human trafficking, House bills 261, 262 and 264, are pending House action, and a fourth bill, House bill 260 is still pending committee action. (TAB)