Alabama’s Speaker of the House said if the state doesn’t pass gaming legislation soon, the illegal gambling operations will continue to flourish in the Yellowhammer State.
Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) discussed the issue Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”
“[I]f we don’t do something about it and regulate it then all we’re doing is enabling gambling,” Ledbetter said. “And it’s gotten so rapid…”
The lawmaker said the problem will only get worse if it’s not addressed in the near future.
“It’s a little scary,” he said. “It is a little scary because it’s almost an organization that’s going to be an illegal organization, like a crime organization, that is running these operations.
“And without the true regulations, without a commission to kind of support it and to try and stop them, it’s going to continue to grow.”
Ledbetter also said it’s almost impossible for law enforcement to get it under control with the current laws.
“Listen, let’s be honest,” he said, “there’s more out there than what the attorney general can address. So I do think with regulations there’s got to be an enforcement piece with that…it’s not easy to try to control …
“They can shut down and take their machines out and two weeks later they’ll be running again in the same stores because the penalties just aren’t stiff enough.”
Ledbetter said it’s past time to accept that gambling already exists in the state and maybe it would make more sense for that money to go to the citizens of the state instead of the illegal organizations.
“[L]et’s face it, we’ve got gaming already, gambling already, in our state, we have had it for a number of years,” he said. “I think it’s time we regulate it. Quit giving the illegals the opportunity to really take money from more and more citizens in Alabama because that’s what’s happening.”