Gambling bill a 'change of course' to balancing budget

Gambling bill a 'change of course' to balancing budget

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The possibility of Alabama regulating gambling and starting lottery is gaining momentum.

Alabama Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh prepared legislation for his fellow senators to review this weekend.

Marsh says he may introduce the bill next week.

The proposed bill would create multiple casinos with table games and slot machines at the four dog tracks in Birmingham, Mobile and Macon and Greene Counties.

However, the proposal would have to be approved by voters to become law.

Political analyst Dr. Waymon Burke says the state's general fund is facing a $100-million+ deficit and there's not much left for the state to cut. Legislators are looking for a new way to fund the state.

"The fact is that Republicans are looking at this as an alternative... a change of course, but it may be the only change of course that's available to balance the budget in the state general fund," said Dr. Burke.

Dr. Burke went on to say The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who essentially have a monopoly on gambling in Alabama, offered the state millions of dollars to have exclusive rights to run casinos in the state.

Burke says this potential bill might just be a negotiation tactic to make the Poarch Band of Creek Indians up their offer.

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