Bingo Legislation Dies

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize electronic bingo games with unlimited cash prizes died on the final day of the 2004 regular session of the Alabama Legislature. The bill passed the Senate earlier, but was still pending in the House when the session ended Monday night.

House Speaker Seth Hammett said it was not included on the work agenda Monday for fear that gambling opponents would have filibustered and killed the state General Fund budget.

The bill was named "Bingo for Beds and Books" and was expected to raise about 100 million dollars a year for public school textbooks and to pay for Medicaid-funded nursing home beds.

Supporters had argued that gambling already exists at the state's greyhound tracks and at American Indian gaming centers. But opponents said there would not have been enough votes in the House to pass the bill, which they say would have caused a further spread of gambling in the state.

Alabama Associated Press