Poarch against proposal

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge – special to the standard
A proposed bill to allow gambling machines at state dog tracks has Poarch Band of Creek Indian officials scratching their heads.
The state House delayed a vote Tuesday on a bill that would legalize high-stakes electronic bingo games at greyhound dog tracks in Birmingham and Mobile. A release issued by Poarch Band of Creek Indians last week stated that any gambling operation in Alabama should be accountable to the state and it should benefit its citizens, which PCI officials said the bill in consideration is neither.
Gov. Bob Riley on Monday announced he is against any effort to expand gaming.
Although several members spoke in favor of the bill, Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, has voiced his opposition fearing the negative impacts that could occur to his district, which include Escambia and Baldwin counties.
According to Mothershed, the bill offers no real provisions as to how the state is going to regulate the proposed gambling operation nor does it suggest how the state would pay to make sure the operation is well-regulated and that an accurate share of the profit that is supposed to go to the state coffers actually ends up there.
Baker said the House Tourism and Travel Committee approved the bill by voice vote. It now goes to the full House for debate. The bill is a constitutional amendment and would have to be approved in a statewide referendum if passed by the Legislature.
According to published reports, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia, provides for 20 percent of gross revenue from the bingo games to be taxed with the tax revenue helping to fund Alabama's Medicaid program. The bill would also outlaw other types of electronic gaming machine.
Mothershed encourages people who oppose the bill to contact their elected officials and let their opinion be heard.
As for Baker's take on how the vote, which could occur as early as Tuesday afternoon, will turn out, he's unsure.

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