Alabama lawmakers rejected the plan to allow voters to decide whether to establish a state lottery, a question that was last on the ballot 20 years ago.
The bill fell one vote shy of the three-fifths margin required on a procedural vote in the House. The vote was 53-36 with one abstention. Most of the Republicans voted yes, while most democrats voted no.
The bill would direct 75 percent of net lottery revenue to the state General Fund and 25 percent to the Education Trust Fund. Disagreement over that formula was part of the debate.
Republican Steve Clouse of Ozark, who is handling the bill in the House of Representatives, initially said it could be reconsidered soon. Clouse said an amendment to direct more of the lottery revenue to education is probably necessary to attract the votes needed to pass, even though he said the General Fund has the greatest need.
Alabama voters last had their say on a lottery in 1999, when voters rejected the plan by Gov. Don Siegelman. In 2016, Gov. Robert Bentley proposed a lottery plan to support the General Fund, but it did not pass the Legislature.