Bedford's bingo bill passes Senate

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
The Alabama State Senate passed the ‘Simple Bingo Bill’ introduced by Sen. Roger Bedford by a 21-13 vote Tuesday evening.
The proposed constitutional amendment will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“We voted to allow the people to decide this issue,” Bedford said. “We need these jobs in Alabama. We need the tax revenue.”
Bedford said the trimmed-down version of his bingo bill still would allow voters go to the polls and decide the legality of electronic gambling. However, Bedford removed many of the details from his original bill, including language that would have grandfathered in existing bingo locations. Locations and other details would be worked out later by legislators and a state gaming commission, under the bill approved by the Senate.
“I am pleased that the majority of my colleagues joined me to give the people of Alabama the opportunity to vote on and decide this issue,” Bedford said.
“With hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state revenue which could revive our education budget and fund important services for our seniors and children, it makes sense to find new revenue outside of tax increases and it’s time that the people had a chance to be heard.”
A more complicated version of the bill failed in the Senate earlier this month.
The “Simple Bingo Bill” would establish a statewide gaming commission and impose taxes on gaming facilities.
Opponents of the bill argue that it allows too much leeway for legislators in the future as far as deciding where gaming facilities could be located.
Alabama does not currently tax gambling and does not have a statewide gaming commission.
The proposal would create a gaming commission and tax gambling in the state at least 25 percent.
The gaming commission would have subpoena power, members could not work for gambling interests for five years before or after serving on the commission, gambling interests could not contribute to the elected officials who appoint the commission members, and the commission would be subject to the Alabama Ethics Commission.
There would be five members of the gaming commission.
Bedford’s original bill determined where 10 points of destination that allowed electronic bingo would be located.
Gov. Bob Riley said the bill will open the state up for corruption ad will expand gambling to all parts of the state.
“The bill isn’t about gambling, it’s about corruption,” Riley said just prior to the Senate’s vote Tuesday.
“This is the most corrupt piece of legislation ever considered by the Senate. Gambling always brings corruption with it wherever it goes. Alabamians should ask themselves one question about this bill: do they think we will have less corruption or more corruption if it passes?
“We will have much more corruption because this is not a simple bill as Senator Bedford claims, it’s a blank check. It lets legislators come back next year and decide where to put casinos, and they will put them wherever the powerful gambling interests who contribute to their campaigns want them.
“This bill doesn’t limit gambling. It expands it to potentially every community and to all forms of gambling, not just slot machines.
“This bill also allows gambling interests to continue laundering campaign contributions through PACs. Other states that allow gambling have restricted campaign contributions from gambling interests to prevent corruption. This bill does not.
“There will be no limits to the corruption we’ll see in our state.”

News

US-43 traffic lights in front of Walmart malfunctioning

News

Ivey announces $500,000 grant to improve Red Bay water lines

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Eric Reason

News

Community Spirit Bank welcomes new employee

News

Pilgrim’s sponsors Russellville Public Library summer reading program

Franklin County

First ‘Canada Phil’ visits Phil Campbell, adds sign to post

Features

National scholarship propels one Russellville student into Ivy League

Belgreen

Belgreen presents ‘Beauty and the Beast’

News

RCS Education Foundation holds annual banquet

Franklin County

Partnership Banquet highlights Franklin County accomplishments

News

50th Phil joins PC signpost

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Jerry Fancher

News

RHS ranks 21/386 for Alabama high schools in U.S. News & World Report

News

RHS FLBA students compete at state

Galleries

RMS students perform ‘Aladdin’

Franklin County

PHOTOS: NWSCC Phil Campbell campus presents ‘Shrek the Musical’

News

Russellville Main Street welcomes new executive director

News

BTCPA announces final production of season

News

Wynette Grammy finds home at Red Bay Museum

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals receives $1.3M to enhance rural healthcare education

Galleries

PHOTOS: RHS Musical Theatre presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Franklin County

Northwest Regional Library announces audiobooks by mail program

Franklin County

Republican primary run-off election for county commission seats takes place April 16

News

Historic Roxy Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with upcoming entertainment

x