MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gambling and the expansion of it has been a hot topic in Alabama for years. Now, with the ever growing budget crisis, it has even become a bigger issue. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has added to the debate.
They've offered to give the state $250 million to bail out the budget shortfall in exchange for a promise that leave electronic gambling laws as they are today. Governor Bentley says that Gambling legislation will not be part of the special session. Legislators including Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says that it will. It will be interesting to see what happens in the end.
The issues that revolve around Gambling and the Lottery could take up editorials throughout the summer, but one that is obvious is that both should be voted on by the public. When I say both, I mean separately. Casino style gambling and the Lottery are two very different issues and should be treated as such. Right now as proposed voters will only be able to vote on a package deal that involves both.
Everyone now knows that even if passed gambling or the lottery will not fix our budget woes for the upcoming year. So consider this, the legislature should first concentrate on addressing the budget issues that will drive higher revenue next year and that will have a lasting impact for years to come. Then they should take on the proposal to bring gambling and the lottery to a vote.
This sounds reasonable, but if you have been paying attention at all the last several months nothing that involves our legislature and the budget has been reasonable or easy.