Should Alabama voters have the right to vote on electronic bingo? A bill in the state legislature to do that and more is moving closer to a key vote in the state senate, but it's far from being a done deal in the upper chamber.
Opponents and supporters of the gambling bill still say there aren't enough votes in the senate for the bill pass Tuesday. However, there is some uncertainty about Thursday. A change could come if supporters are able to come up with a bill that is more acceptable to opponents.
The problem is because it's a constitutional amendment it requires 21 votes for it to pass. There are 21 democrats in the senate, but it is believed at least four of them are planning to vote against the bill. That would mean there are 18 votes on the republican side, but two of them are voting with the democrats. If it materializes like that, the vote right now would be 19 for it and 16 against. Two more votes are needed for it to pass.
The bill as it is now, would bingo legal in ten locations around the state and they are:
-Mobile County Greyhound Track
-Country Crossing in Dothan
-Two locations in White Hall (currently one)
-Victoryland in Shorter
-Greenetrack in Eutaw
-Jefferson County dog track
-One in each of the congressional districts: 4th, 5th & 6th located in North Alabama.
The bill as it is right now would tax all the money that goes into the machines, minus the winnings that are paid out at 25%. 20% goes to the state for education and medicaid and 5% will go to the counties. Governor Bob Riley calls the bill the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on the people of Alabama.
WSFA 12 News confirms Representative John Rogers plans to send a letter to Attorney General Troy King Tuesday, questioning the authority of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. We've also confirmed King will hold a news conference Wednesday concerning the task force.