Sweet home legislation dead for year

Published 1:44 pm Thursday, May 7, 2009

By Staff
The so-called “Sweet Home Alabama” legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to tax, regulate and expand electronic bingo is dead — and we’re glad.
It’s not that we’re necessarily against gaming, nor are we against giving Alabama voters a chance to decide what they think about gaming.
The problem is that legislation itself was flawed.
The constitutional amendment would have thrown out everything currently governing gaming in Alabama. According to the amendment, the new gaming ventures would not be subject to current gaming laws or even past court rulings on the subject.
What’s more, gaming would only be legal in certain areas — namely, those areas where gaming exists now and only a handful of people are able to profit from it.
That means that if Escambia County leaders and voters wanted to try to make a go of gaming here (outside of the Poarch Creek Indians) — and use the revenue to help fund local projects — we wouldn’t be able to do so.
The legislation — if voters had approved the amendment — would have put all of the power in gaming in the hands of those already making money off of it — and not truly in the hands of the people, as proponents of the legislation claimed.
The backers of the “Sweet Home Alabama” bill, who financed a huge media campaign including help from country music stars, wouldn’t even stand up in public and let people know who they are.
Supporters have vowed the legislation will come up again. Let’s hope if it does, the flaws are removed and voters truly have the power over gaming in Alabama.

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