Gambling ads take bingo battle from casinos to cable

Governor Riley explains the reasons for the bingo battle in a television ad.
Governor Riley explains the reasons for the bingo battle in a television ad.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's hard to miss them--advertisements for and against gambling in Alabama and legislation to legalize it.  There's even one from Governor Riley explaining why we have the bingo battle.

"Whether you believe this form of gambling is good or bad for Alabama, the [state] Supreme Court has said it is illegal," he says in the ad.

While the 30-second commercials are aimed at winning your support, Auburn Montgomery Political Science Professor Brad Moody says they don't always address the issue head-on.

"They try to shift it and make it look like it's about jobs, or obeying the law, that there's something else involved other than gambling, and they try to make it very simple...a simple good or bad," he says.

Moody says the efforts are costing the advocacy groups.

"They're not running at 1:30 in the morning.  They're running during the 6:00 news, the 10:00 news."

But are they working?

"I think there's a lot of money to be made and that's why the ads are coming fast and furious," says Inspire Salon Owner, Robin Burcham.

She says she isn't swayed.

"I think there's just a lot at stake here that they're spending a lot of time and effort to convince the public on what they really need to think."

Folks like John Carney say the public really just wants to hear the whole story.

"I think the sad thing is everybody's not being really, totally straightforward. I think we need really more than a 30-second ad to really lay-out what's involved," he says.

Requests were made by both pro-gambling and anti-gambling groups to remove some of the ads from television stations in Alabama, including WSFA 12 News.

Members claimed ads on both sides contained statements that were untrue.

WSFA 12 News requested proper documentation after the requests were made to remove the ads.

WSFA 12 News' legal team advised there was no reason to pull them from the air.

Professor Moody says the ads will only increase if legislation passes allowing Alabamians to vote in November.

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