Alabama Sports Betting Hopes Offifially Dashed Again

Alabama is a sneaky-good sports state. No offense to the state’s population, but there’s not a lot going on down there. Naturally, local interest floods to the powerhouse college football sports programs — the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Rolling Tide. This is the engine that fuels the state’s strong sports fandom.

This fandom is now sports betting interest too. However, local legislators aren’t abiding. Just weeks ago, they killed another attempt at legalized sports betting in the state. Here’s what happened and what Alabama bettors can do about it.

Gaming Bills Move Forward Without Sports Betting

The good news: there are two separate gaming bills going in Alabama right now. The bad news: neither bill includes legalized sports betting. Gaming bills HB 151 and HB 152 moved out of the House of Representatives with 72-29 vote. The gaming provisions in the bills only included a state lottery and licenses for up to seven slot parlors in Alabama.

This stings especially because earlier versions of those bills DID include legal sports betting, as well as casino betting. This was swirling around in February, getting passed by the House again. However, the Senate spent little time rejecting the bills. Get this, the Senate’s Tourism Committee stripped sports betting from the bill in its entirety in only three weeks. The committee did leave in the approval of three tribal casinos, a state lottery, and parimutuel wagering on horse and dog races at seven state tracks. So as you can see, sports betting was directly targeted in the bill.

Eventually, more political maneuvering happened in the next few months. More things were chopped off. All that’s left in the current bill form are two provisions. The first is up to seven licenses to host in-person electronic games, such as slot machines. The second is an official state lottery with 100% of revenue generated going to state’s education department. Nothing is official yet, but it’s being kicked around by in-state politicians.

So what’s the takeaway here? Sports betting has a very slim chance of getting passed through in Alabama anytime soon. Slim, we tell you! Seriously, it’s not just that it was removed from the bills, but how fast — three weeks. That tells you how much politicians are against it.

Surrounding States Show Possibility Of Sports Betting

By and large, the southern region of the country remains the biggest opponent to legalized sports betting. Five of the 12 states with betting still banned are in the region — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas. However, the few states that have gotten on board with legal betting are banking big time. And perhaps those numbers will convince Alabama lawmakers to change their tune in the years that follow.

Take North Carolina, for example. They are the most recent state in the country to go live with legal wagering. In about 90 days of being up, the state has collected around $42 million in tax money for themselves — profit, not revenue. That’s staggering success, especially when you consider football is the big driver of betting activity. In other words, those numbers will skyrocket once NFL and college football rolls around.

There’s also Tennessee — Alabama’s neighbor to the north. During the slow sports month of April, once March Madness has ended, the state took home $7 million off sports betting.

These aren’t perfect comparisons because the state populations differ. North Carolina has about 10 million inhabitants, Tennessee is at 7 million, and Alabama comes in lower at 5 million. Plus, each state can decide on different tax rates for its sports betting revenue. Nonetheless, legalized sports betting is a profitable endeavor for just about any state, little less one like Alabama that’s crazed for football.

This year in particular since it’ll be the first with no Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. The all-time head coach retired from his Alabama post and is replaced by Kalen DeBoer, who is fresh off a national championship trip with Washington. There’s both excitement and nervousness with the program in Year 1 of the DeBoer era, but that’s only fuel for betting interest.

Alabama Bettors Have To Go Offshore

But wait, Alabama bettors aren’t completely screwed out of betting. They do have one option for online wagering and that’s offshore betting sites. These bookies don’t have to abide by Alabama or US regulations because they operate in foreign countries where betting is legal online. It’s the perfect sidestep for in-state bettors.

While there’s no shortage of offshore bookies servicing Alabama players, we would strongly recommend the following five bookies:

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Why are we so high on these bookies? Many reasons but for one are the lucrative sign-up bonuses awaiting you at these. New signs up of the site stand to gain hundreds to thousands of dollars in free play off the site. Yes, that’s free money you can use to fund your sports bets for the next few weeks or even a month. The table above lists our favorite offers on the table. Pick one and boom, you’re gambling “on the house.”

Eric Uribe

Eric was born and raised in Nevada — the center of gambling in the United States. Throw in his natural interest in sports, and Eric was destined to be a sports bettor. This came to a head once Eric turned 21. Already a working sports journalist while in college, Eric began betting at his local sportsbook. Despite massive losses (at first), Eric continued to chip away at wagering. Eventually, he got half-decent at it. Now Eric is a trusted betting analyst. Not only is he skilled at making picks, but also breaking down the state of the industry — legalization, revenue, and innovation. You can read Eric's writings exclusively on OSB.