Bingo for Books

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Legislation known as "Bingo for Books" heads to the Alabama House for a vote that's expected to be close, with a fight over it looming.

The House hasn't approved statewide gambling bills in four years. The Republican Caucus is preparing for a fight over this measure. Bingo for Books is endorsed by the teachers lobby, led by AEA's Paul Hubbert. Dan Ireland, executive director of the anti-gambling Alabama Citizen's Action Program, says the battle is on.

The state Senate voted 21-to-9 last week for the plan that would let voters decide whether to legalize high-stakes video and live bingo at all of Alabama's dog tracks and tax the games to buy textbooks.

It's a constitutional amendment, and requires approval of at least 63 of the 105 House members.

Representative Ken Guin, a Democrat and majority leader in the House, says he expects a very close vote.

Hubbert says the legislation is subject to a public vote, and that requirement could make it easier for lawmakers to approve. Hubbert expects a vote in three or four weeks.

The Alabama Legislature has recessed during Spring Break.