06 July 2009


I've know for years that gambling, especially sports gambling, was big in Alabama. Now it looks like electronic bingo is giving it a run for the money -- but legally, and without any effective regulation or enforcement.

The Birmingham News published a special report on this rapidly-growing phenomenon on Sunday. News staff writers Kim Chandler, Charles J. Dean and Kent Faulk created a series of articles for the report. They did a great job focusing on the problems the state faces because of the lack of regulation. They described how the industry works, the major players, and how local communities are bring affected by the games. Other articles focused on the rift between Gov. Bob Riley and Attorney General Troy King over how the law regarding gambling should be interpreted, how the gambling industry lobbies politicans in Alabama, and how the Creek tribe in wants to bring actual slot machines and table games to their operations.

So it looks like the state has a choice: Either declare it all illegal and shut it all down (and they can't do it all; the Creeks can do as they wish on their lands for the most part), or regulate and tax the industry. With the current economic climate, it would seem that the choice is clear. Maybe Alabama can tolerate a little sin so it can pay its debts.

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