King wont intervene with task force
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
A state senator thought to be on the fence about a bill that would allow Alabama voters to decide the legality of electronic bingo came out against the measure Friday.
State Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, said he is against the Sweet Home Alabama bill, which proposes a constitutional amendment to regulate and limit electronic bingo in the state.
Riley, who has made the fight against gambling something of a crusade in his last months in office, is opposed to the bill. Senators expect the vote, which could come Tuesday or Thursday, to be close.
The war of words over gambling continued last week, with Attorney General Troy King offering advice but not yet intervening in the activities of Riley’s gambling task force.
King said the task force, which was created by Gov. Bob Riley, should take action against gaming activities through civil courts, not through raids using state troopers.
The battle over gambling has been escalating in recent weeks, with the task force attempting to raid gaming halls in Montgomery and Dothan and threatening to raid one in Greene County. Gambling hall owners and state officials have tangled over the matter in courts as well.
King said that while he has the authority to intervene, he would only offer advice for now.
King said Tyson should seek declaratory judgments about the legality of electronic bingo from courts in counties where gambling is in question and take steps in civil courts in those counties to determine whether evidence exists to keep gaming halls closed. King also said Tyson should not engage in any more “warrantless raids.”
Tyson said King’s statement was a “delaying tactic,” according to the Mobile Press-Register.
King advocated giving voters the opportunity to decide about the legality of gambling.