Alabama gambling legislation clears first legislative hurdle

The Heisman Trophy, won in 1984 by Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, is displayed at the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Mass., Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The casino, a slot machine parlor, is scheduled to open on Wednesday June, 24, 2015. The Plainridge Park Casino represents the first gambling destination to open since state lawmakers approved a casino law in 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
photo The Heisman Trophy, won in 1984 by Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, is displayed at the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Mass., Tuesday, June 23, 2015. The casino, a slot machine parlor, is scheduled to open on Wednesday June, 24, 2015. The Plainridge Park Casino represents the first gambling destination to open since state lawmakers approved a casino law in 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Gambling legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the Alabama Legislature.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday to establish a state lottery and casinos at four existing dog tracks.

Former Auburn University football coach Pat Dye spoke in favor of the legislation. Dye says gambling already exists at bingo casinos, but the state isn't getting tax money from it.

Opponents say gambling preys on the poor.

The bill now moves to the Senate floor where the Republican majority is divided over gambling.

The committee tabled an alternative suggestion by Republican Sen. Trip Pittman to just have Alabama join a multi-state lottery such as Powerball.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh is sponsoring the bill. Marsh calls gambling a viable alternative to taxes.