News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Latest gaming ruling another legislative loss

The state Legislature can take care of the flap over video gaming machines if legislators will make casino-type gambling legal. That, of course, would upset a lot of people, including the out-of-state gaming operations that helped financed the defeat of former Gov. Don Siegelman's education lottery.

The state Supreme Court's Friday ruling that invalidates video sweepstakes operations at The Birmingham Race Course, which also features live and televised dog races, isn't popular with a hefty portion of the state's population. Many Alabamians like to gamble, and the trumped-up video machines that look and visually operate like real slot machines satisfy many people's urge to take a risk.

The court ruling now puts questionable mom-and-pop operations across the state in jeopardy, too.

The court decision is the right one because this type of gambling is illegal in Alabama. Nobody is accusing these operators of running crooked games. The court simply said they are illegal.

People who think Alabamians don't like to gamble should visit a local bingo parlor. If they drive to Tunica, Miss., they will most likely run into someone from home.

Lawmakers could have written legislation that clearly spelled out that this form of gaming is illegal. But not doing so while refusing to call for another vote on a state lottery gave them standing in two powerful political camps.

It's a case of having their cake and eating it, too. It is also another case of legislators not doing their job.

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