MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- Two ginormous lottery jackpots are up for grabs this week worth a combined total of more than $1.5 billion but it is not available in Alabama.
FOX10 News is taking a look at the push to legalize gambling in the state, including a lottery as thousands in Alabama head across the border to buy tickets.
“I heard it on the radio how big it was and bought them,” one man from Grand Bay said.
“300 million to one,” one man from Theodore said. “No chance, but hey it gives us something to do in the afternoon.”
“We drove down here today to try and find a ticket that’s winning,” two woman said. “Trying to get the money!”
For years, the Alabama State Legislature has taken up the lottery and gambling issue and for years they failed to make anything law.
Senator Greg Albritton sponsored a bill last year because he thinks it is time.
“I think the people want it to be available,” he said. “My job is to find a path that we can make it available, make it legal, make it fair.”
Alabama is one of five states that does not have a lottery, joining Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
“This is where we are as a society and where Alabama needs to be for revenue purposes and to fit in with the society,” Albritton said.
Last month, Governor Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy released an 800 page report. It estimates a lottery would generate up to $300 million a year in state revenue. It also found casinos would bring in up to $400 million and that is not including jobs.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran was one of 12 who researched the report that gave the facts, but no recommendation.
“My opinion obviously the state needs the money and people are buying lottery tickets anyhow, but again you just got to be willing to accept the good with the bad, there would be some problems, but it would bring in a lot of money,” he said.
With the study and the report done, Senator Albritton hopes lawmakers come on board.
“We got to set up a means to recapture this money to put what the population desires to have in Alabama and provide a means that we can legally do it, that we can control it,” he said.