White-hot bingo issue gaining momentum in Alabama Legislature

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March 15, 2010

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MONTGOMERY, Alabama: The issue of allowing electronic bingo in Alabama is gaining steam, and it doesn't seem to have any signs of slowing down. Not only is the issue being discussed by the Alabama Legislature, but at least four different versions have been introduced in session and have been proposed to be sent for state voters to decide. Legislators Marcel Black, Henry Sanders, Roger Bedford, and most recently, Quinton Ross have introduced the various proposed bingo bills. The summaries of the measures read as follows:

  • A proposal by Marcel Black, HB 154, which the synopsis reads as follows:
"This bill proposes a general law that will relieve non-Indian operators of bingo from certain legal disabilities that do not apply to Indian tribes conducting bingo under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act."[1]
"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to allow the Legislature to pass laws authorizing, taxing, and regulating bingo, whether or not electronic, computer, or other technologic aids are used in connection with the game of bingo, in one or more locations in the state."
  • SB 380 was defeated in the Senate due to lack of support on March 3, 2010. It was sponsored by Roger Bedford, also known as the Sweet Home Alabama Bill, which the synopsis reads as follows:[3][4]
"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, (i) to authorize bingo destination points in each of the seven Congressional Districts and provide further for maritime gaming on cruise ships, (ii) to establish the conditions under which bingo as allowed by federal law for Indian tribes may also be played in limited areas in the state, (iii) to levy a state gross receipts tax and local gross receipts tax on the revenue generated by these bingo games, (iv) to create a State Gaming Commission for the regulation of bingo operations throughout the state and to enforce the gaming laws of the state, and (v) to distribute the proceeds of the taxes to the Education Trust Fund, the General Fund for the benefit of the state Medicaid program, and to those counties which do not have local bingo constitutional amendments."
  • SB 515, sponsored and introduced by Senator Quinton Ross, which the synopsis reads as follows:
"This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the operation of electronic bingo. The amendment would provide for the creation of the Alabama Gaming Commission to regulate and license electronic bingo and would provide for taxation of electronic bingo operations by the state and local governing bodies."[5]

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