Bingo for Books

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The Alabama Senate could begin debating legislation expanding high-stakes bingo to all of Alabama's dog tracks this week or next week according to Senate President Pro Tem Lowell Barron. The DeKalb County legislator said Tuesday is the first day that "Bingo for Books" could be considered in the upper chamber.

However, anti-gambling activists like the Reverend Dan Ireland, executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, expects opponents to do everything possible to keep the bill from being considered.

It has been slow going in the Senate, last Thursday marked the one-third point in the current legislative session. Only two bills have made it all the way through the Legislature and been signed by the governor.

The legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville, is a constitutional amendment that would allow bingo with unlimited jackpots at the state's other dog tracks in Greene and Mobile counties. His legislation would place a 10-percent state tax and four-percent local tax on the net proceeds at all four tracks, with the state tax, estimated at up to $50 million annually.

Dog tracks in Macon and Greene counties currently have high-stakes bingo.

The legislation has been endorsed by the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama Association of School Boards.