Bingo bill breakdown - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bingo bill breakdown

By Margo Gray - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - After passing the state senate last week, the bingo bill is one step closer to hitting a ballot box near you for a vote. The 8 page bill is a paired down version than the one intentionally proposed. Under the latest bill, for the first time, the people of Alabama will have the right to vote yes or no on electronic bingo.

Before anyone can count their winnings, state lawmakers have to agree on the details behind the bingo bill. The bill would authorize electronic bingo throughout the state to place taxes on the game and establish a gaming commission to regulate it.

But political analyst, Waymond Burke says the bill doesn't explain it all.

"Nothing is mentioned in this bill of who will get these gaming licenses should it pass," said Burke.

 This is a concern for folks who want to make sure there is no room for corruption or a monopoly to develop. Burke says the details are still a little vague on what percentage would go to tax payers.

The bill would require 25% of the tax revenue to go toward education in public schools, the state general fund to benefit Medicaid and other senior services...but no where does the bill specify which area will get a bigger piece of the pie.

"There's nothing vague about it. It's very specific as to what the definition of what electronic bingo will be, it's very specific that it will have a minimum tax rate of 25 percent," said Senator Roger Bedford. "And it's very specific that it will have the toughest gaming commission in America."

It will be a five member commission appointed by the highest officials in the state. The bill has already passed the senate, if passed by the house, tax payers will have their chance to vote if they want bingo or not in November.

All the details in the bill will not get ironed out until a special session months later in January.

"Let's end the controversy, let's let the people of Alabama vote it in. Tax it and regulate it, vote it out that will be the end of it," said Senator Bedford.

©2010 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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