What's in the 'bingo bill'? - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

What's in the 'bingo bill'?

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Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's a lot riding on the eight page document known as the 'simple' bingo bill.

The measure passed through the state senate Tuesday night.

So, what's inside the bill?

Loose language, according to Faulkner law professor Joe Lester.

'It is pretty broad.  Shockingly broad, almost," he said.

"It allows for gaming operators to have wide latitude in what kind of games would fit under what was defined here in this bill as bingo."

The bill defines bingo differently from the State Supreme Court.

It allows using "technologic aids," when initiated by the action of a player, the game essentially plays automatically.

"This actually allows for more slot like gaming than what we had [previously]," Lester explained.

The proposal also calls for the creation of a state gaming commission, made of up 5 non-elected officials.

"It allows for various interests to be represented, so that's not too strange," Lester said.

Under the measure, casinos would pay a 25% tax, as determined by lawmakers.

However, operations in counties that allow bingo would have the choice of opting out of being covered by this bill.

"There's a potential for an exception to be created, that those facilities may not even go to the state coffers," Lester explained.

If approved in a statewide vote, lawmakers would hammer out the rest of the details with only a simple majority vote.

Meanwhile, questions remain.

"It's not inconceivable that you could have a bingo game in every gas station and every restaurant in the state of Alabama," Lester said.

Stay with WSFA 12 News for the latest on the gambling legislation.

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