Dale Jackson: Let’s get over the lottery hump and move on to more lucrative gambling talk
If you want the lottery and expanded gambling in the state of Alabama you should support the lottery bill proposed by State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore).
Is the bill perfect? Absolutely not. In fact, I would argue it creates some new problems. By not protecting the questionably electronic bingo in pockets of the state, like Greene and Macon counties, this bill gives the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on games of chance in the state if Attorney General Steve Marshall continues to pursue shutting down these entities and the courts agree with him.
This is not ideal. However, the alternative is to grant those entities a legal status that they do not deserve. If they are operating illegally, they shouldn’t be handed this gift. If they are operating legally, why do they need the protection of the lottery bill proposed by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville)?
Does this lottery bill allow the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on games of chance in Alabama? It does.
Would McClendon’s bill bring in more revenue in the short-term? The analysis says yes.
But what if the lottery bill passes, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians expanded their gambling options and revenue grows and the citizens of the state of Alabama see that there are more revenue options available to the state?
Would a push for wider gambling ensue? Definitely.
Will legislators face calls to license gambling facilities in Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and Mobile? Hopefully.
The lottery bill is not the end of the gambling conversation in Alabama. It is the elusive first step.
Let’s get beyond this first part and continue the conversation.