Category: Gambling

Urgent Action Needed on Daily Fantasy Sports Bill

On Tuesday, the House passed HB354 (the Daily Fantasy Sports Bill). “In states that sponsor commercial gambling, all taxpayers-including the non-gamblers– end up paying higher taxes for less services and their states end up with worse budget problems over the long term. Allowing states to sponsor online fantasy sports gambling will deepen these financial problems, forcing the taxpayers who don’t gamble to foot the bill.”
(www.alcap.com)

During the lengthy debate, a couple of good amendments presented by Rep. Mike Jones were passed. We are concerned that those amendments, which place greater restrictions on the Daily Fantasy Sports companies may be stripped from the bill in the Senate. When the vote on final passage of the bill was taken, it only passed by a narrow margin of 5 votes. You can click HERE to see how your House member voted.

HB354 NOW GOES TO THE SENATE. WE NEED A GROUNDSWELL OF PEOPLE TO CONTACT THEIR STATE SENATORS AND ENCOURAGE HIM/HER TO OPPOSE HB354.

To understand how dangerous this online gambling bill is (even though proponents argue that it is not gambling), you can click HERE to read what Stop Predatory Gambling has written about this deceptive enterprise. You can also click HERE to watch the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary,  _Frontline_, from 2016 about Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Forty-three minutes into the documentary, the producers interviewed a young man from Auburn, AL, Josh Adams, who lost $20,000 playing DFS. You can also read the New York Times story about Josh Adams by clicking HERE.

“A Lottery will make the poor pay their ‘fair share'” by J. Pepper Bryars on al.com

J. Pepper Bryars, who grew up in Mobile and lives in Huntsville, is a conservative columnist for AL.com. Contact him at www.jpepperbryars.com.

We often hear that the rich should be made to pay their “fair share,” but the top 20% of earners are already paying about 84% of our nation’s income taxes.

Some say that’s a reasonable apportionment from each according to their ability, but here’s a modest proposal for consideration: maybe it’s time for the poor to actually start paying their fair share in taxes.

Outrageous? No more than feeding our unwanted children to the rich. But still, how can we tax the poor without seeming like a monstrous mix of Ebenezer Scrooge and Montgomery Burns?

Our lawmakers in Alabama have finally found the secret answer: a lottery.

You may be skeptical that a lottery could deliver additional revenue on the backs of the poor, but other states have experimented with them for decades and have thoroughly perfected the trick.

Duke University found that the poorest third of households buy more than half of all lottery tickets, and a University of Buffalo survey showed that the lowest fifth on the socioeconomic scale had the “highest rate of lottery gambling (61%).”

Studies in Texas, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Minnesota also show that those with below-average incomes purchase a majority of scratch-off tickets. That’s partly because, as the Duke study found, poorer neighborhoods are saturated with get-rich-quick lottery advertisements for games with tempting names like “Win for Life, ” “Golden Ticket,” and “Holiday Cash.”

And get this: a study in California found that lottery sales actually increase with poverty rates. It’s recession proof!

We get to hook their children, too. A Yale University study revealed that “receipts of scratch-off lottery tickets as gifts during childhood … was associated with risky/problematic gambling.” Teach them when they’re young, as the saying goes.

We never have to worry about the lottery being repealed, either. The poor don’t hire lobbyists to help avoid taxes, and when they vote it’s often for self-serving or incompetent politicians. For instance, those shouting the loudest for a lottery actually represent the poorest parts of Alabama.

If those reams of scientific studies aren’t convincing, take my personal word for it – the poor will pay.

I grew up poor, and not just relatively speaking. We fell below the federal poverty line for a family our size many times over the years, and I can recall how my father once blew the lion’s share of his paycheck gambling at the dog track in Mobile. It hurt. We weren’t the kind of family who could absorb a lost paycheck. Bills simply went unpaid … and our family simply went without.

Later on, a close family member’s husband blew three paychecks in a row at the casinos over in Mississippi. They were poor, too, and were eventually evicted from their rental house. Their family never recovered, and it eventually fell apart.

But who cares, right? Gambling is a victimless and voluntary vice, and we have no right to stop a grown man from wagering his family’s income on a chance to “Win for Life” or to get some “Holiday Cash.” Besides, it’s not our fault if children are caught up in the scheme, even if it’s sanctioned by the people and managed by the state.

Still, I remain worried that Alabamians won’t approve the lottery.

Think about it. If the poor knew that lotteries were actually wealth redistribution in reverse or that their children would likely grow up addicted to gambling, they wouldn’t vote for it … right?

If their elected representatives knew that a lottery would raise the taxes of their poorest constituents, they wouldn’t vote for it … right?

If the Democrats, who style themselves as defenders of the poor, learned that a lottery takes advantage of the most vulnerable among us, they wouldn’t vote for it … right?

And if the Republicans, who style themselves as the keepers of our Judeo-Christian values, knew that a lottery’s get-rich-quick advertising campaigns “exploit the poor because they are poor (Proverbs, 22:22),” they wouldn’t vote for it … right?

I’m not sure. All of this experience and evidence presents an overwhelming and convincing case that a lottery is a hidden tax on the poor.

Thankfully, nobody seems to know these things.

Nobody, that is, but you.

 

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/08/a_lottery_will_make_the_poor_p.html

Lottery = full fledged casinos across Alabama

APPEAL TO ALABAMA LEGISLATORS

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.

Contact your Senators! Tell them to vote NO on gambling

Please continue conveying to your Alabama legislators your adamant opposition to expanding gambling.

Today, two pro-gambling bills were voted out of the Senate Tourism Committee and will advance to the full Senate.  They are SB3, the Governor’s pure lottery bill and SB11, Senator McClendon’s bill that allows electronic video lottery terminals at the four dog tracks throughout the state and according to the Attorney General, could lead to casino gambling.  These were passed by voice vote (no roll call vote).

These two bills will be debated on the floor of the Senate, possibly as early as tomorrow.  Pray and contact your State Senator to urge him or her to oppose SB3 and SB11!

Another gambling bill is SB26 (Albritton-R) which would legalize on Indian reservations, types of gambling that are currently illegal under Alabama law for all other Alabama citizens.
It would thus lock in casino gambling in this state.
It would encourage casino expansion to multiple locations around the state – such as Birmingham!
It would ratchet up the pressure from the McGregors of the world to be allowed wholesale gambling rights.

Please ask your legislators to be real leaders and employ legitimate, reliable ways to fund government instead of turning to a casino environment with its multiple costs to the quality of life in Alabama.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9Z-G9Upc7A&list=PLc9nQXd0udHERweOGgD0ZoUFQykc3O5PA

The video above is from The Alabama Policy Institute.  In these four short videos, leaders from the Gatekeepers Association of Alabama speak passionately to the fact that a lottery is not the answer for Alabama.

The Gatekeepers Association of Alabama describes itself as “a diverse group of pastors united to empower the Church to influence the government realm.” These videos feature Bishop Jim Lowe, pastor of the Guiding Light Church; Pastor Jody Trautwein, founder of the Joshua Generation, Inc.; and Pastor Randy W. Williams, pastor of Parkway Christian Fellowship.

The three Alabama pastors are joined by Bishop Robert E. Smith, Sr., pastor at Word of Outreach Christian Center and founder of Total Outreach for Christ Ministries, Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas. Having seen what life is like before and after the implementation of a state-run lottery, Bishop Smith’s words are striking, as he enlightens us as to the harsh reality of the effects that a lottery has on a state.

 

 

 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED! We Cannot Wait Another Day!

WE CANNOT WAIT ANOTHER DAY!

Please call your state representative and your state senator today, and ask them NOT to vote for a lottery.  Joe Godfrey, Executive Director of ALCAP, has issued an alert that we think needs to passed along to you immediately, as time is of the essence.

According to a Montgomery Advertiser article (click here to read the article), the Governor is planning to call a Special Session of the Alabama Legislature in order to find funding for Medicaid.  The article implies (and we have heard from reliable sources) that a state-sponsored lottery will be the primary “solution” offered to the Medicaid funding problem, and for the lottery Constitutional Amendment to be on the November ballot, the Special Session will need to be held in early to mid-August.

If pastors and church members do not contact their House Members and State Senators NOW and urge them to oppose all pro-gambling bills during the anticipated Special Session, we will be facing a lottery referendum this November! Given our limited resources, it will be difficult for churches to stop such a vote on the November ballot.

The Alabama Supreme Court wrote several years ago that a “lottery” is defined as “any game of chance.”  That means that if the people of Alabama vote for a lottery, the Legislature could come back and establish casinos throughout the state.

No state or government has ever gambled its way out of a financial crisis.  Instead, gambling actually sucks money out of the economy and states that have legalized lotteries and casino gambling have continually had to raise their taxes to cover the lost revenue from other sources.  California and Illinois are good examples of this.

It is also important to note that if the people of Alabama vote for a lottery, that will not be the end of it.  Pro-gambling forces will continue to push for new forms of lottery ticket sales (Keno and scratch tickets, video terminals, etc.) and new types of gambling.  Once a government becomes addicted to gambling dollars, that government will have to continue to “prop up” the gambling operations and expand gambling in order to keep revenue from gambling coming into the state.

A new documentary has been produced that shows the fallacy of state-sponsored gambling, especially lotteries. The movie is entitled, “Out of Luck.”  The downloadable version from the internet contains language not suited for viewing in churches, but an “educational version” has been released that drops the sound when those words are used.

Joe Godfrey has a copy of the educational version DVD and is willing to travel to different areas of the state in order to show the 1 hour and 44 minute documentary to groups of pastors and area associations of churches.  They will also try to have DVDs of the educational version available for churches to use.  The cost of the DVDs will be $25 (their cost).

If you, or a group of area associations and churches would like to schedule a viewing in the next couple of weeks, please contact Joe at jgodfrey@alcap.com or call the ALCAP office at 205.985.9062. Or, if you wish to order the educational DVD directly, you may contact Joe directly at  jgodfrey@alcap.com

Budget Decisions: Consequences of Gambling Expansion (Compact) Vs. Other Ways

May 13, 2015

To:   Governor Robert Bentley

Members, Alabama Senate and House

From: Eunie Smith, Eagle Forum of Alabama

You are in our prayers as you make the hard, limited-government choices that result in the most cost-effective government and the most liberty for our citizens.  We wish to share the following four points with you as you wrestle with budget decisions. Explanations follow.

  • It is NOT a foregone conclusion that the Poarch Creek Indians will have any gambling going forward.
  • We’re not just talking about gambling on Indian Reservations.
  • Gambling interests will take control of politics and policy making in Alabama.
  • There is Another Way.

1.      It is NOT a foregone conclusion that the Poarch Creek Indians will have any gambling going forward.

The push for a compact is premised on the notion that Indian gambling is here to stay, and therefore we might as well tax it.  This is a false premise!  It is being used to convince conservative legislators who would otherwise oppose gambling to give up and support a compact!

The Alabama Attorney General has a strong case pending in the federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (in Atlanta) that could be decided in a matter of weeks.  If the appeal is successful and the Attorney General eventually wins the case, it will undermine the right of the Poarch Creek to conduct any gambling operations in Alabama!

For over five years, the issue of “electronic bingo” has been fought out in case after case in Alabama state courts.  It is this form of gambling that has been conducted up until now on both Indian and non-Indian land in Alabama.   Just a few months ago, in a case called Houston County Economic Development Ass’n. v. State (November 21, 2014), our Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling that finally settles the matter once and for all:  so-called “electronic bingo” is illegal under Alabama law.  Only paper bingo is allowed.  Now that this ruling is in place, there is good reason to believe that the federal courts will take notice and rule that, since this gambling is illegal under Alabama law on non-Indian land, federal law will not permit it on Indian land either.

In addition, the case brought by the Attorney General also includes a sound argument that  the land on which all of the Indian gambling is being conducted in Alabama was not even properly taken “into trust” for the benefit of the Poarch Creek tribe.  In a 2009 case called Carcieri v. Salazar, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that only Indian tribes recognized as such by the federal government in 1934 could benefit from land taken into trust for them by the Secretary of Interior.  Alabama’s Poarch Creeks were not recognized as a tribe until the 1980’s!

2.  We’re not just talking about gambling on Indian Reservations.

If we enter into a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians, non-Indian gambling bosses will never let us hear the end of it.  They will keep pushing until they have the same rights.  Once we “cross the Rubicon” and become a gambling state, the political pressure from non-Indians to be treated “equally” will be relentless.   (The tools available will include massive political contributions to those who favor increased gambling and equally massive contributions to recruit and support opponents for those who oppose increased gambling.)

The result of gambling expansion is NOT more reliable net revenue to the state.  However, the costs are reliable: more addictions, more family breakdown, more divorces, increased crime, increased law enforcement and public assistance programs, business and restaurant closings …   See http://stoppredatorygambling.org/

3.     Gambling Interests will Take Control of Politics in Alabama.

In Mississippi today, whenever a new law is proposed in the legislature, the first question legislators ask is “Where are the casinos on this?”  Do we in Alabama really want to turn control of our state politics over to the gambling bosses?

Right now the two biggest donors in Alabama state politics are the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Business Council of Alabama.  Of course there are other “players,” but these are the two dominant forces.  But if we legalize casinos, the amount of cash generated will easily swamp the combined political resources available to current donor groups.  The gross profits from three or more Las Vegas style casino operations could easily exceed $2 million dollars a day.   Whether Indian or non-Indian, the gambling money is huge, it is politically minded and it will likely not be chasing after conservative candidates.  Gambling money will control Alabama politics.   (While there is talk of restricting political participation by casinos, this is only being proposed as to Indian casinos; and, besides, substantial First Amendment questions exist as to whether any such restrictions will be enforceable.)

Make no mistake:  Signing a compact with the Indians will usher in a new era in which gambling bosses will control Alabama politics.  They will have much more influence than most people realize over who we elect to our courts, as our Governor, and as our representatives in Montgomery and even in Washington.

4.  There is Another Way – Un-earmarking and combining the budgets

“The solution to Alabama’s budget ‘crisis’ is so simple it will blow your mind,” according to Yellowhammernews, which explains that there will be a surplus in education trust fund tax revenues this year of $287 million!  This is almost exactly the same amount as the projected shortfall of $290 million in this year’s general fund budget!  So without one dollar from gambling interests, the State already has enough money to fund essentially the entire deficit!    What is required is that we un-earmark all or even just part of the excess money that is now restricted.  And much of this money can be un-earmarked simply by an act of the legislature.

Additionally, the legislature can continue to cut out inappropriate expenditures; and it is time to combine our education and general fund budgets.  If 47 other state legislatures can manage dollars used for education without a separate budget, so can Alabama.  Please consider these options as you move forward.

Electronic Bingo Machines Leave Alabama

Attorney General Luther Strange got a big win in the fight against gambling–he’s reached an agreement with the gaming equipment companies to pull their electronic bingo machines out of Alabama.

Strange told the Birmingham News, “I hope this is the beginning of the end. I don’t know how the casino owners will react, but the fact that their machine manufacturers have left the state leaves them with very little left to work with.”

The fight against illegal gambling has been the source of much conflict in the state.  Governor Riley formed an Anti-Gambling Task Force to root out those who were not operating within the law.  While he is not utilizing the task force, Governor Bentley and AG Strange have taken a strong stand against gambling in Alabama.  Gambling was also the subject of one of the largest public corruption scandals in Alabama’s history.

Hopefully, the steps Governor Bentley and AG Strange are taking will bring resolution to the issue once and for all.

AG Luther Strange Comments on Indian Gaming Rules

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange submitted comments in response to a comprehensive review done by the National Indian Gaming Commission regarding standards and regulations of electronic bingo on tribal lands.  Those comments can be found here:   Letter to National Indian Gaming Commission.

Strange had previously taken a strong stand against illegal gambling in a joint statement with Governor Bentley on the subject.  We applaud Attorney General Strange and Governor Bentley for their commitment to upholding the laws of Alabama.