Lawmakers Unsure About Gambling, Lottery Budget Fix

Republican lawmakers are looking at all options to fix the budget this year. 

 
That includes expanded gambling and a lottery.
 
This after senate leader Del Marsh showed what kind of impact it could have on the state. 
 
Marsh put out the results of the Auburn Montgomery study yesterday that shows a huge impact to the state.
 
But not everyone is buying into the idea. 
 
After months of research, Auburn Montgomery says adding table gaming, slot machines, and a lottery to the state would bring in 400 million dollars to the state.
 
It’s something that he hopes can help bail the state out of a budget crisis. 
 
But State Senator Dick Brewbaker isn’t sure how much gambling can help.
 
“I don’t buy the numbers in the study, with all due respeect to the people who did it. To say the state will receive 300 million dollars from a state lottery? We have to give out 80 percent in prizes plus the money it would take to administer it. I think realistically we might get actually net 50 or 60 million dollars for the general fund at the most,” said Sen. Brewbaker.
 
Marsh shared the results of the study to every senator and speaker mike hubbard friday. He says he won’t bring an actual bill unless everyone is on board. Brewbaker doesn’t see that happening. 
 
“I think they’re pretty slim. Just talking informally with my colleagues in the republican caucus, I do not see a groundswell of support for either table gaming or a lottery,” said Brewbaker.
 
Others are hopeful. Representative Craig Ford has already introduced a lottery bill and he says it’s promising to see Republicans looking at all their options.
 
“We could care less who’s name is on the piece of legislation, we’re excited they’re taking the house democratic caucus plan and moving forward with it. It’s exciting to see republicans getting on board with the democrats in the legislature. This has been our plan for over four or five years,” said Ford. 
 
Speaker Mike Hubbard’s office put out a statement saying he’s still looking at the study, but isn’t sure gambling would help fix this coming year’s budget. 
 
Marsh says he hopes to introduce a casino and lottery bill next week. 
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