Both Sides Speak Out Against Electronic Gaming in Alabama

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email
Last week the 2010 Alabama legislative session began and there are already several bills on the table relating to the legality of electronic bingo in the state

Gaming machine seized during raid at Adriana’s Tienda Mexicana in Morristown.

Representative Marcel black is supporting a bill that would allow private gaming facilities to operate like Indian gaming operations.

As you can imagine people from both sides of the bingo issue have their opinions on whether or not this is a good idea.

Currently, more than 1 thousand people are employed at country crossing in Houston County but some argue that job growth stemming from electronic bingo will be short-lived.

"Each machine costs 2 to 3 jobs because the money that would be invested in cars, washing machines, houses, and groceries are taken out. This does not create jobs" says Tom Anderson, representing the new group, Concerned Wiregrass Citizens.

Arguments have broken out in courtrooms across the state in the past year and those in favor of business growth from electronic gaming want to see clarity in Alabama state laws.

"It's an absolute necessity, especially with the governor's actions. He is absolutely unequivocally trying to create a monopoly for the Indians in Alabama. Should he prevail in his quest to close our facility down along with other private entities he will have then created a monopoly." Says Ronnie Gilley, Creator of Country Crossing

There is a bill put before the House of Representatives defining bingo under federal law- which would allow private businesses to function just like Indian operations.

Some religious opponents of gambling in Alabama would like to see electronic bingo banished from the state all together, but if all private bingo operations were shut down, the Indian casinos would-under federal law--remain open.

“We are waiting on the ruling of the supreme court that Bob Riley has put before them. The Supreme Court has already ruled one time, but we are going to attack it where we live and how we live" said Anderson.

"I respect their Christian beliefs if they are true and heartfelt. If they are doing it to garner a vote, you cannot legislate morals. There is a separation between government and church" says Gilley.

You may remember last year, we reported that the Alabama Christian coalition backed off its initial opposition of electronic bingo and now would like to see a vote on the gambling issue.

Members hope that by clarifying, regulating, and taxing gaming, electronic bingo will be limited.

Meanwhile Representative John Rogers of Birmingham is proposing 2 separate bills-one to establish a gaming commission and the other to authorize casino gaming in cities with a population of 100,000 or more.

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