Alabama is giving sports gambling another run. House Bill 161, introduced by Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, proposes that the state allow betting on certain collegiate and professional sporting events as well as other authorized competitions.
If passed, the bill would also create the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission as the rule-making authority.
On Sunday, an estimated 23.2 million Americans are expected to bet in excess of $4 billion on Super Bowl LV, according to the American Gambling Association.
Currently, 20 states and Washington D.C. have active, legal sports betting. Tennesse is among the states recently added to the list.
Some people in Alabama want in on the action. Taking to social media to voice their support for the pending legislation, some said they’ve traveled to neighboring Mississippi and Tennessee to place wagers in the absence of opportunities in Alabama.
Colby Knight of Huntsville said, regardless of the laws, there are already forms of gambling going on in the state from office Super Bowl pools to underground bookies and says legalizing it is a win for everyone involved.
“We’re missing out on it anyway and it’s already going on anyway, so if you believe people should be free to how to spend their money and it’s not affecting anybody else -- if I want to bet you on the game and you bet me, vice versa -- then what’s the problem?” he said. “And then if we want to go to a kiosk and do the same thing on a wager, what’s the problem?”
Knight said he doesn’t personally feel like he’s missing out without the legal opportunity, nor does he believe this effort will pass, saying he would be very surprised if gambling made it before the lottery.
Draftkings Sportsbook currently operates retail or mobile gambling in at least a dozen states. In a statement, a company spokesman said: “DraftKings works with lawmakers, regulators and other stakeholders to enter new jurisdictions and our goal is always to get our top-rated product offering in the hands of customers in every state.”