Other opinions: Decision on gambling needed

Published 10:33 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2006

By Staff
Gambling in Alabama took a big hit yesterday. According to the Associated Press, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that video sweepstakes games at the Birmingham Race Course are illegal gambling devices, no different from slot machines.
The 8-0 ruling reversed a ruling by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Scott Vowell, who said the operation known as &#8220MegaSweeps” at the Birmingham Race Course was not a lottery and did not involve the use of slot machines or gambling devices.
People play the game by buying Internet time on a machine, called a reader, which automatically enters them into a sweepstakes and the machine then tells them if they won or not.
While this ruling means that this one particular style of gambling is illegal in the state, there are still many issues that must be addressed.
We need to ultimately decide whether gambling is illegal or legal. We need an amendment that states once and for all whether we have any gambling or none at all.
Right now, certain forms of gambling are illegal and others are legal.
Birmingham Race Course owner Milton McGregor's statement to the AP may have underlined the current trouble we have in the state. He said, &#8220It appears that the Supreme Court concluded that our machines only had to resemble a slot machine in order to be a slot machine.”
Chances are if a machine looks and sounds like a slot machine, then it has to be a slot machine. McGregor and his folks manipulated their machines to fit through all the loopholes in the laws. There's no doubt that they were slot machines, but the law was written in a way that made their slot machines not be slot machines.
We have to clear this up or we will continue to have all this confusion about what is legal gambling and illegal gambling.
The Clanton Advertiser