A lottery and casino bill has cleared its first hurdle in the Alabama Legislature.
The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee approved the bill Thursday on a 5-3 vote.
The bill seeks to authorize a state lottery and Las Vegas-style casinos at four existing state dog tracks in Birmingham, Mobile and Macon and Greene counties.
Republican Senate leader Del Marsh says he would like gambling and lottery revenue in Alabama instead of new tax increase. Republican senator Trip Pittman says gambling won’t solve Alabama’s budget crisis.
Houston County residents are urging lawmakers to allow a fifth casino in that county.Three-fifths of legislators and a majority of voters would have to OK changing the state Constitution to allow gambling.
Alabama voters last rejected the idea of a state lottery in 1999.