Houston County would be cut out of $21 million by gambling exclusion, business says

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama lawmakers will soon be voting on a bill to allow casinos and a lottery in the state.

However, there is a problem with the bill, at least for southeast Alabama.

“A big concern right now, the bill as it stands, completely excludes the Wiregrass area,” said Melody Lee, public relations for The Crossing at Big Creek.

If the Dothan area did receive a casino location, it is projected it could create about 6,200 jobs within the next five years.

With the infrastructure already existing here in the Wiregrass, people are curious as to why this area wasn’t chosen.

“It would certainly be an attraction for out of state visitors and people that are passing through,” State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said.

The Wiregrass stands to miss out on millions of dollars from in-state and out-of-state traffic without the addition of a casino.

“Not only $75 million in revenue to the state over five years, but $21 million to Houston County,” Lee said.

Since Alabama doesn’t already have a state lottery, it’s beset by state lotteries on all sides.

“Now that Mississippi has started their lottery, we are surrounded as far as the lottery issue goes,” Clouse said.

Money from the lottery could be used for college scholarships in the state, which seems to be a lacking area for Alabama.

“We were ranked last in the nation on the amount of student aid,” Clouse said.

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