Legal experts are now warning legislators that the current lottery bill is a Double Trojan Horse. It would (1) give Indians the right to demand a compact from the Governor to set up full-fledged, Las Vegas style casinos in multiple locations around the state and (2) the bill’s loose definition of “lottery” would enable the gambling bosses we have battled for years to reopen their casinos with slot machines and other games activated by so-called “lottery tickets” purchased at casinos that have been shut down in recent years based on repeated rulings from the Alabama Supreme under our constitution’s current ban on “lotteries.”
As for the Indians, a lottery is “Class III” Gaming under federal guidelines. There is currently NO Class III allowed in Alabama. But federal law says that if ANY Class III gaming is permitted by state law, then the Indians have the right to a compact allowing them to operate ALL forms of class III gaming. Thus, legalizing a lottery will open wide Alabama’s doors to Las Vegas style casinos, gaming, replete with table games, slot machines, etc.
What would this ultimately mean for Alabama? First, of course, there is the immorality of funding our state by preying upon the poor and more vulnerable, when it should be the states responsibility to look out for those same people. Second, casino profits in the hands of a handful of gambling magnates would allow them to control Alabama politics. Do we really want gambling bosses to have the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits that will allow them to control the elections of our state for decades to come? Is a state run by the hand-picked candidates of gambling bosses the kind of state we want for our children and grandchildren?
I recently heard a lecture on an upcoming book entitled “The Wickedest City in the Country: Phenix City, Alabama”. It reminded me of that city’s 1954 horror story. Please, legislators, don’t make our citizens relive Phenix City statewide. Please reject the lottery and the resultant wholesale expansion of gambling in Alabama with its inevitable corrupting influence on all Alabama. To pay for necessary state expenditures, please use reliable, sound funding streams that do not rely on the state’s effectiveness in encouraging gambling addiction for their revenue.