Pro and anti gambling supporters react to state house rallies

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Two rallies scheduled for two different times quickly became one.

Catherine Snow was upset when bingo supporters interrupted her group's anti-gambling rally.

"They were trying to suppress our first amendment rights and to be able to peacefully assemble and petition our government," says Snow, the Senior Advisor for Citizens for a Better Alabama.

Snow says the other side didn't play fair.

"We had supporters screaming at us, hurling insults, defaming us, cursing at us, trying to drown us out," she says.

But Country Crossing leaders strongly disagree with that assessment--saying their supporters are being misrepresented.  In a statement, they said:

"The good people of Alabama that disagree with Riley's opinions are not the thugs he and some religious groups want you to think they are...they are concerned and upset citizens."

Attorney General Troy King fears if the heat continues "somebody is going to get hurt."

He suggests a way to end the battle once and for all.

"We could file a declaratory judgment action, and we could ask the court...tell us, under this amendment, under this enabling law, under these rules and regulations and under this ratification debate that occurred in this electronic bingo legal or not?  File 17 of them, have 17 quick answers, take it to the Supreme Court, have a definitive answer. There's no reason we couldn't do that in a matter of months," he says.

King made the same recommendation in a news conference last week.

Now he says he and the Governor are trying to come up with a time to talk about the idea.

The Commander of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling shared his opinion of King's recommendations in response to the news conference.

John Tyson indicated he's not planning to change anything the task force is doing.

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