Alabama Lawmakers Ready for Introduction of Sports Betting Bills

USA Legal Betting


  • 36 states have already legalized sports betting
  • A state representative said that Alabama has lost $800 million in revenue form not having a legal market
  • The success of the University of Alabama in March Madness could influence lawmakers' votes

The Alabama state congress is preparing to introduce sports betting bills when the legislative session commences Tuesday afternoon.

“Right now the will of the people is that they want the lottery, they want casinos, they want the whole gambit,” said State Rep. John Rogers. “And it happens anyway because they’ll go into other states to participate.”

Alabama is one of 14 states that have not legalized sports betting in any form. Two states, Ohio and Massachusetts, that launched their respective sports betting markets this calendar year have enjoyed highly fruitful periods since.

The scene in Alabama

Two of Alabama’s neighboring states, Mississippi and Tennessee, have legal sports betting markets. Florida also briefly had a sports betting market but is at a deadlock pending judicial review over legal disputes. Georgia recently introduced sports betting legislation and has momentum behind its legalization efforts. 

Part of the problem that Alabama lawmakers are dealing with is not only the availability of sports betting in nearby states but a proliferating illicit gambling market.

“The FBI said Alabama has the highest percentage of illegal gaming of any state in the union,” said Rep. Rogers. 

According to World Population Review, Alabama has the sixth-lowest average household income of the 50 American states. For it to also foster such a lucrative illegal gambling market presents a headache to lawmakers.

Another issue weighing on lawmakers is the amount of taxable revenue that has been lost to retail and online sportsbooks in neighboring states and the illegal market. Alabama Senator Greg Albritton, who sponsored a failed sports betting bill in 2022, said that the state has lost $800 million in revenue due to its failure to create a legal sports betting market. He is one of several who believes that the attempts are coming when policymakers return Tuesday. 

“I believe there will be at least one, probably closer to five different gaming bills that will be dropped in the House and the Senate,” Albritton said. “It is my intention to take each one of those as they come and try to combine them into a comprehensive bill, which is what the state needs.”

External motivation

Alabama’s absent sports betting market is missing out on an especially important time of year, one that would be highly profitable if it were legal—that is, of course, March Madness

The annual 68-team tournament pits the best teams in college basketball against one another, and one of the headlining acts is the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Playing behind the support of a Birmingham, Alabama crowd, the Tide raced past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the opening round and then handled the Maryland Terrapins to book a spot in the Sweet 16. They will play San Diego State University in Louisville, Kentucky Friday evening.

History has shown that sports bettors are more inclined to place wagers when they are supporting a local team. In a state like Alabama, where there are no mainstream professional sports teams, March Madness and the college football season are two of the most important times on the calendar.

There is also a precedent for states moving to legalize sports betting after local teams achieve great success. For example, after Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals was held in Inglewood, California, in February 2022, California was able to advance Propositions 26 and 27, two sports betting bills, to the November ballot, though they ultimately failed.

Ohio, however, was able to use the Bengals’ deep run through the playoffs in 2022 and their solid performances in the following season to make sure it had a sports betting market in place before the 2023 playoffs, in which Cinci advanced to the AFC Championship Game.  

More will be unveiled once Alabama lawmakers return on Tuesday.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.