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Givhan: Not enough votes in the Senate to pass casino bill

As an informal group of state legislators is studying the issue of legalized gambling, one state senator doesn’t believe it has much of a chance of making through next session.

On WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Thursday, State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) responded to the idea of potential gambling or a lottery bill coming up next year.

“I know there’s a huge demand amongst all constituencies, but particularly Republican constituencies, for a clean lottery bill, but I just don’t see where there are votes in the Senate to pass anything on casinos,” Givhan said. “Especially when you’re not doing anything in an open ended, an open bidding project.”

Givhan thinks the current ideas being discussed won’t work in getting something meaningful passed.

“In some brief comments from other legislators, and reading press reports, it looks like they’re operating out of the framework that existed before,” he said, “which is allowing the existing … quasi-legal … gaming operations now having an exclusive and giving the Poarch Creek Indians an exclusive in northeast Alabama, which I’m hearing those people don’t want, those people being the citizens. I know there’s some politicians up there that want it because they want the money, but there’s a lot of citizens up there that do not want it from what I’m hearing.”

The lawmaker also believes current laws aren’t currently being enforced, which creates more problems.

“I’m a little discouraged that law enforcement hasn’t already found them and shut them down,” he said. “I think the laws on the books say shut everything down now. So why are we joking around with this thing?”

Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said he intentionally didn’t bring any kind of gaming legislation to the floor last session because it would distract from passing other priorities. However, he admitted the issue needs to be addressed soon.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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