There can be little doubt that the debate over bingo in Alabama has been dominating the state news scene for weeks. In fact, I don’t believe there has been any one single issue in recent years that has been more widely discussed and debated. It’s rather sad to see so many critical issues requiring the full attention of the Governor and legislators being virtually ignored. Some folks around the State House believe the whole affair has been mostly political in origin. For that reason, I am going to set out the views of the leaders of the two major political parties in Alabama on the bingo battle. Their views are worth a review in my opinion.
Mike Hubbard On Bingo
Mike Hubbard, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, appears to be following Gov. Riley’s lead in the bingo battle. Mike believes the bingo machines are actually Las Vegas-style slot machines that operate and pay-out just like thousands of identical machines in the gambling capitals of the worlds. He says these machines are currently illegal in Alabama under the state constitution and statutory laws. Because of the way they operate, Mike says the machines should be Class III devices, which are prohibited by law in the state. His view is that facilities that offer them to the public are clearly breaking the law. If Mike is correct, the court system is the place to find the answer.
Joe Turnham On Bingo
While Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, isn’t in favor of gambling in any form, he believes the ultimate solutions to the constitutional and legal issues lie with the courts and in the Alabama Legislature. Joe believes this matter should be decided by the voters of Alabama. He says we should allow the people to vote and settle this matter once and for all. According to Joe, once this issue is put to a vote of the people, we should all get on with our lives. Recent polling seems to indicate about 80% of the people of Alabama agree with Joe on the right to vote issue.
My Own View
I pretty well made my views on the ongoing “political” battle involving bingo known in the last issue of the Report. Nothing has happened since that time to change my mind. I am still against gambling and don’t believe it should be a major tax base for any state. However, I strongly believe in giving the people of Alabama the right to vote on any important issue that requires such a vote. We badly need to get this matter behind us!
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