MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Friday issued the following statement: “Earlier this year, I established the Study Group on Gambling Policy to thoroughly review and gather all the facts surrounding the seemingly endless debate on gambling in Alabama. They were tasked with providing detailed information to allow public officials and the people of our state to make the most informed decision possible, should we decide to pursue legislation to deal with this issue. “I offer my sincerest thanks to Mayor Todd Strange and the members of the Study Group for their diligent work, especially for adapting when COVID-19 interrupted in-person meetings. “After initial discussions with them regarding their report, I believe their research will be pivotal as gambling policies are being considered, debated and potentially voted on. As my team and I pour over the findings, I encourage the Legislature and the people of Alabama to do the same.
By: JAKE SEINER, AP Sports Writer https://www.centralillinoisproud.com Video gamers in the United States and elsewhere will soon be able to bet on themselves. The live-betting esports platform Unikrn had its wagering license approved by the Isle of Man on Tuesday, clearing the way for users to legally gamble on competitive video games. “There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering,” Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood told The Associated Press. “It’s huge.” Unikrn immediately began rolling out to 20 countries a variety of online products, and will soon bring esports wagering to most of Europe, South Korea and other Asian countries, and parts of Latin America. Certain types of esports betting will also be available in the U.S. Unikrn had previously only been licensed to provide real-money betting on esports in the U.K. and Australia. In countries with legalized sports betting, Unikrn users will
By Alan Blinder BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Even more than its Bible Belt neighbors, Alabama has steadfastly resisted legalizing gambling for generations. The clout of evangelical Christians helped make sure of it: Joe Godfrey, the top lobbyist for the state’s most powerful churches, once received an Inauguration Day promise from an influential politician that no proposal for gambling would make it through the State House while he was in office. But the resistance is now openly fraying, suggesting that gambling is no longer a potent moral issue that animates voters and politicians the way it once did. As the landscape shifts in Montgomery, the state capital, the consequences may reverberate across the South, where nearby states gladly rake in billions of dollars that Alabamians are not allowed to wager at home. The Supreme Court opened a new front last month when it cleared the way for sports betting in any state
“You Pay Even If You Don’t Play.” Debunking Gambling Proponents Top Arguments with National Policy Expert Les Bernal
Nate Grasz Capitol Connection Episode 68 You’ve likely heard about all the money Nebraska is “losing” every year to casinos across the Missouri River in Iowa. Now, proponents of expanding gambling in Nebraska are saying the losses will worsen and the state will lose even more money if Nebraska lawmakers don’t legalize sports betting. If people are already gambling, shouldn’t we capitalize on increased tax-revenue and legalize casinos in Nebraska? Couldn’t the state use this revenue to pay for education, gambling addiction funds, and lower property taxes? Should Nebraska legalize sports betting? Wouldn’t legalizing more forms of gambling eliminate illegal gambling? While these questions and arguments are recycled every year, it’s important to know the facts and realities of state-sponsored gambling. Hear the answers to these questions and why every citizen – especially Nebraskans – should care about what their state decides to do with gambling on this week’s Capitol
Executive Summary November 2017 Findings: Overall rates of gambling among NCAA men have decreased. Fifty-five percent of men in the 2016 study reported gambling for money within the past year, compared to 57% of respondents in the 2012 study and 66% in 2008. As in the general population (college-aged and otherwise), women engage in nearly all gambling activities at much lower rates than men. Over the 12-year period studied, participation in most gambling activities decreased among all student-athletes despite the expansion of land-based and online gambling opportunities during this time. However, in contrast to activities such as poker or online casino games, sports wagering remains popular among student-athletes. In 2016, 24% of men reported violating NCAA bylaws within the previous year by wagering on sports for money (9% reported wagering on sports once per month or more). These rates are just slightly lower those seen in the 2008 and 2012
By John Sharp www.al.com Is fantasy sports gaming a battle of wits and smarts that’s worthy of free-market protection? Or is it just dolled-up digital gambling that deserves being outlawed? Josh Adams, following the debate in Montgomery from 50 miles away, can speak to the questions as well as anyone in the country. Adams, 38, who lives in Auburn, is already nationally known for his views on the matter. In the past two years, both the New York Times and the PBS show “Frontline” have come to talk to Adams, a recovering gambling addict, featuring him in deeply-reported stories about fantasy sports gaming and the risky obsessions associated with it. “I want people in Alabama to be able to play daily fantasy sports,” Adams, who works for an entertainment production company in Opelika, said in an interview this week with AL.com. “Most people can play responsibly.” And for people who
by Cliff Sims MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The leader of an interdenominational organization that lobbies the Alabama legislature on behalf of the Christian community issued a stern warning on Tuesday: “Illegal gambling is taking over this state.” Dr. Joe Godfrey is the executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), an almost 80-year-old organization that describes itself as “Alabama’s moral compass” and has long been one of the state’s most active anti-gambling groups. Dr. Godfrey’s latest comments came in response to the imminent re-opening of VictoryLand, a Macon County casino that has opened and closed time and again since 2010 when the State first raided the facility and seized its electronic bingo machines. Alabama’s Constitution contains amendments declaring gambling illegal statewide, but also includes other county-specific amendments legalizing certain types of gambling — most notably “bingo” and dog racing — in a handful of counties, while they remain forbidden in
Guest Voices, www.al.com By Eunie Smith, Eagle Forum of Alabama; Joe Godfrey, ALCAP; and A. Eric Johnston, Southeast Law Institute On October 3, 2016, Governor Robert Bentley announced he was appointing an advisory council on Gaming. Among the reasons reported is that it was necessary to resolve ongoing disagreements over electronic bingo, to resolve disputes and controversy that have existed for years on gambling, to avoid selective enforcement of gambling laws, to settle a lack of consensus among the judiciary and determine best practices from other states. In the Governor’s wisdom, all of this needs to be reviewed and then presented to the people for a vote. In other words, the Governor is now working for gambling interests in this state and he expects the Council to advise a repeal of that provision in the Alabama Constitution which prohibits games of chance. In the process, the Governor will discover a
Lottery Not the AnswerTHOUGHTS By Bob Terry When Gov. Robert Bentley announced his support for a state-run lottery in Alabama he sounded as if he had found some magical cure for all the ills of the state. He promised a state-run lottery would be a “permanent solution” to the state’s financial problems. Bentley said taxes would never have to be raised if a lottery were approved because the state-sponsored gambling scheme would “provide funding we can count on for year after year.” Like other advocates of this get-rich-quick scheme, Bentley’s words are as hollow and misleading as those of all the gambling crowd with which he has now aligned himself. Look at the experience of Missouri, a state with a lottery for the past 30 years. Originally lottery proceeds went to the state’s General Fund but in 1992 voters specified that all lottery proceeds go to education. Despite the earmarked
COMMENTARY ON THE LOTTERY FROM ALCAP BOARD MEMBER DON WALLACE, CPA We must call into question how much the lottery will siphon from the Education Trust Fund, etc. and tell Alabama Legislators NO. For example, if I spend $100 on goods then $4 in Sales Tax Revenue goes to schools. If I now spend $25 of that money on a “get-rich-quick” lottery scheme, then only $3 goes to the Education Trust Fund. Based on the Governors “lofty expectations” this would mean $12 million dollars in tax revenue diverted from the Education Trust Fund, as well as the lost revenue to local cities, counties, and local school tax revenues generated from the other 5-6% of sales tax that doesn’t go to the state. EASILY, THE GOVERNOR’S PLAN DIVERTS AT LEAST $30 MILLION FROMTHE EDUCATION TRUST FUND AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS. Speaking from client experience, the lottery hurts the small business as
Governor Bentley announced this morning that he is calling for the Special Session of the Alabama Legislature to consider a constitutional amendment allowing Alabama to vote on a state-sponsored lottery will begin August 15. Please contact your House Member and State Senator and let them know that you oppose this government scheme that has failed in every state where it has been enacted! I am asking you to do the following: 1) Contact your House Member and State Senator and ask him/her to oppose any pro-gambling legislation during the Special Session and get others to do the same. 2) Order the EDUCATION EDITION of a new documentary entitled, “OUT OF LUCK.” Be sure to order the EDUCATION EDITION because that version drops the sound when foul language is used. The original version contains some offensive language at different times during the movie. The movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes,
By Greg Garrison | email@example.com The Rev. Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP, will lead churches in the fight against a state lottery in Alabama. Southern Baptists have been fighting gambling since the days of brush arbor revivals across the South. They remain some of the staunchest opponents of gambling, believing it promotes immorality and hurts the poor. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who took office flouting his reputation as a staunch Southern Baptist upholder of morality, has now called for a special session to consider a state lottery. The minister assigned to lead the Southern Baptist fight against gambling in Alabama questions Bentley’s motives. “Either his morals are not as strong as he claims they are, which we’ve already seen, or this is a distraction from the scandal,” said the Rev. Joe Godfrey, executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, an anti-gambling lobby supported by the Alabama Baptist Convention.
by Richie BernardoApril 25, 2016https://wallethub.com Gambling exists in every state — even Hawaii and Utah, where gambling is prohibited by law — but not everyone gambles the same. First, there are “recreational” or “social” gamblers who might, for instance, buy the occasional scratcher, take the rare casino trip or bet small stakes in fantasy sports. But they also possess the mental capacity to quit at any point and prevent catastrophic financial loss. Then there are “professional” gamblers — the likes of math genius Edward Thorp and high-stakes sports bettor Bill Krackomberger — who gamble well enough to make a living out of it while separating work from personal life. But when the business or pleasure gets out of control, gambling becomes a real medical condition. Gambling disorder, as the affliction is known, affects slightly more than 2 percent of all U.S. adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate
By ABC Social Affairs Correspondent, Norman Hermant People who play simulated gambling games for free online are more likely to become problem gamblers in real life, according to a report from the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC). Report’s key findings:Children are more exposed to gambling than ever beforeOnline games are blurring the lines between simulated and real gamblingThe games create unrealistic expectations about real-life gamblingThe report also said the easy access to free gambling games on smart phones and tablets was a major concern. The AGRC — part of Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies — said more and more people saw gambling as a part of everyday life and they were being exposed to gambling at younger ages than ever before. “Young people today are growing up around these electronic games,” said Anna Thomas, one of the authors of the Is It Gambling Or A Game? report. “This
Recently, Stop Predatory Gambling’s national director, Les Bernal, was in Alabama helping ALCAP speak out against several pro-gambling bills that have been introduced in this 2015 Legislative Session. He sat down with APT’s Dan Daily, host of the Capitol Journal, to discuss the issue. The interview begins at nine minutes and thirty seconds (9:30) into the program.
By Joe DugganWORLD-HERALD BUREAUwww.omaha.com LINCOLN — The pharmacist lost his composure in court Tuesday as he admitted to pulling off perhaps the biggest Medicaid fraud ever in Nebraska.As Scott Tran tearfully uttered the words “guilty, your honor,” he was confronted by the reality that he will spend up to 10 years in prison before spending the rest of his life trying to pay back the $14.4 million he stole from the state and federal health care program. “It’s the biggest one I’m aware of in Nebraska,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Everett said after the hearing in U.S. District Court in Lincoln.Most of that staggering sum ended up in the casinos of Council Bluffs, according to Omaha attorney Clarence Mock, who represents Tran. His client once paraded as a high roller at the blackjack table, but he was really consumed by addiction, Mock said. Click here to read the rest of
September 20-27 has been designated as the “National Stop Predatory Gambling Week of Prayer” by the national organization, Stop Predatory Gambling (SPG). ALCAP’s Director Emeritus, Dr. Dan Ireland, helped to organize this movement in the 1990s and ALCAP’s Executive Director, Dr. Joe Godfrey, currently serves on the Board of Directors. Given the fact that many Republican legislators are beginning to push the idea of expanding gambling in our state, we need for God’s people to fervently pray that God will help these legislators, opinion writers, business leaders and others to see that gambling is an evil force that can potentially hurt every citizen in our state. Gambling is both a moral issue and it is a failed public policy everywhere it has been tried – it does not work! Please go to www.ALCAP.com and www.StopPredatoryGambling.org to read the facts. ALCAP is calling on churches and concerned individuals to plan one
Michael Symons, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press 4:43 p.m. EDT May 26, 2015 TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Lottery is suffering from jackpot fatigue, but the entire state budget is feeling run down. States with jackpot fatigue need increasingly bigger jackpots to lure in casual players who buy lottery tickets only when a prize is huge. People once impressed with a $100 million payout shrug until it reaches $300 million. Then fewer people play, so it takes longer to get to staggering prizes. Sales of Mega Millions and Powerball multistate games were down 30% through the end of March, New Jersey officials said. At that pace, sales of those games, which have accounted for around 15% of all New Jersey Lottery sales in recent years, would drop by $130 million this fiscal year. “It appears to be a national phenomenon,” said David Rosen, the Legislature’s budget officer. “Maybe it’s gambling
By Mike Casonwww.al.com MONTGOMERY, Alabama The vice chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians said it’s up to the governor whether to open talks about an agreement to share revenue from expanded gambling. Robert McGhee said the tribe has not heard from state officials and has not contacted any since talk has bubbled up in recent weeks about a state-tribal gambling compact. “The Poarch Creeks will always be open to the possibility,” McGhee said. “It just depends on if it’s something that’s favorable for the tribe and the state.” Gov. Robert Bentley has said he expected a compact to be one proposed solution to the state’s General Fund budget problems. The governor has said he does not think gambling is a good way to fund government but that he’s open to considering a state-tribal compact and a lottery. Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said today the governor has not made
By Cameron Smith With budgetary challenges again facing the State of Alabama, politicians are mulling the idea of a state-run lottery to provide an infusion of cash. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parker Griffith has actively campaigned for a lottery to fund education. Governor Robert Bentley has responded by discussing how the proceeds of a lottery should be spent in the event that the Alabama Legislature and the people of Alabama decide to permit a state lottery. The appeal of a lottery is clear. Consenting adults play a game of chance, and a portion of the proceeds fund government programs, education or otherwise. Unfortunately, the reality of a state-run lottery is far less convenient. The first problem is that state-run lotteries only return 20% to 40% of their sales for state programs. Consider the Missouri Lottery. In a state similar to Alabama in terms of population, the lottery generated slightly more than
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, I have long been opposed to any expansion of legalized gambling and have continually sought to raise awareness of the dangerous economic and social costs of gambling. That is why I want to submit for the RECORD a statement I received from two of the foremost experts on the harms of state-sponsored gambling, Tom Grey, and the National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling, Les Bernal. Statement by Les Bernal, National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling and Tom Grey, Senior Advisor to Stop Predatory Gambling Today, we would seek to speak for the “losers.” The “losers” are those citizens sacrificed by our government in its failed experiment of sponsoring and promoting gambling to extract as much money as possible from the public. “Losers” isn’t a term we coined. That’s the word used by a slot machine designer at America’s biggest maker of electronic slot machines, International Gaming Technology
Alabama Citizens for Media AccountabilityMediaAccountability.org There has been a distinct resurrection of discussion in Alabama’s media about allowing a vote on a state lottery as we consider whom we will elect in November.Proponents of a state lottery argue that it is a way to make up the shortfall in higher education budgets, both providing for more scholarships and lowering tuition rates without directly increasing taxes. Many states, including our neighbor Georgia, have used the lottery to fund scholarships for qualifying college students as well as primary and secondary education classrooms. But are the promises of a lottery too good to be true? As much as lottery proponents in Alabama like to tout the benefits that may come from extending the lottery into our state, they are seemingly reluctant to share many of the negatives that often accompany lotteries. Interestingly enough, reporters at several liberal media outlets are more forthcoming in
Scientific AmericanAddictive drugs and gambling rewire neural circuits in similar waysBy Ferris Jabr When Shirley was in her mid-20s she and some friends road-tripped to Las Vegas on a lark. That was the first time she gambled. Around a decade later, while working as an attorney on the East Coast, she would occasionally sojourn in Atlantic City. By her late 40s, however, she was skipping work four times a week to visit newly opened casinos in Connecticut. She played blackjack almost exclusively, often risking thousands of dollars each round—then scrounging under her car seat for 35 cents to pay the toll on the way home. Ultimately, Shirley bet every dime she earned and maxed out multiple credit cards. “I wanted to gamble all the time,” she says. “I loved it—I loved that high I felt.” In 2001 the law intervened. Shirley was convicted of stealing a great deal of money
(MONTGOMERY)- Attorney General Luther Strange is pleased to announce that Houston County Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Conaway has issued a decisive ruling in a case involving so-called “electronic bingo.” The final ruling today was the culmination of a joint law enforcement effort by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes, District Attorney Doug Valeska and Attorney General Luther Strange. Law enforcement officers seized 691 illegal slot machines and gambling devices and $288,668.62 in cash proceeds from the Center Stage casino in Houston County last year. The Judge’s ruling today came after prosecutors from Attorney General Strange’s Office presented evidence in a three day trial in Houston County. The machines will be destroyed and the money forfeited to the General Fund. “The decision from Judge Conaway in Houston County Circuit Court marks a good day for the rule of law,” said Attorney General Strange. “In a detailed
New data provide some answers on the real odds on gamblingBy MARK MAREMONT and ALEXANDRA BERZON The casino billboards lining America’s roadways tantalize with the lure of riches. “Easy Street. It’s Only a Play Away,” screams one in Arizona. “$7.1 Million Every Day. We’re a Payout Machine,” reads another.But how often do gamblers really win? What are the chances that a gambler will win on a single day or over a longer period? Don’t bother to ask the casinos. Although they gather vast quantities of data about their customers for marketing purposes, including win and loss tallies for many regulars, casinos keep such information a closely-guarded secret. Now, thanks to an unprecedented trove of public data detailing the behavior of thousands of Internet gamblers over a two-year period, The Wall Street Journal can provide some answers. Click here to read the entire article.
Associated Press WASHINGTON – The Navy says a three-star admiral was notified Wednesday that he has been relieved of duty as second-in-command at the military organization that oversees all U.S. nuclear forces. He is under investigation in a gambling matter. The Navy’s top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that Vice Adm. Tim Giardina will drop in rank to two-star admiral as a consequence of being removed from his position at U.S. Strategic Command.Giardina is being reassigned to the Navy staff pending the outcome of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe of allegations that he used counterfeit gambling chips at a casino in Iowa, not far from his base in eastern Nebraska. The removal of such a high-ranking commander of nuclear forces is extremely rare in the U.S. military.
My friend, Eunie Smith, President of the Eagle Forum of Alabama, brought the following video to my attention. It is an open letter from Jay Dennis, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lakeland, FL (a.k.a., The Church at the Mall). I would add one important point to Pastor Dennis’s message. When he talks about the Commandment, “Do not steal,” he addresses the “redistribution of wealth” concept. I would add that America’s growing addiction to gambling (both by individual citizens and by local, state and the federal governments), runs counter to this Commandment, as well as several other Commandments.
By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd, CNNupdated 12:06 PM EDT (CNN) — The NAACP chapter in Dallas is calling for an end to the Texas state lottery, saying the game drains the finances of low-income ticket-buyers who can least afford it, especially minorities. “It’s an addiction,” chapter President Juanita Wallace said. “Many, many people have actually spent all their money in hope of getting out of a situation, when in fact, they’re getting themselves into a worse situation.” She said one man she knew died last week without health insurance. “He had an insurance policy,” she said, “and he withdrew all of the funds from the policy, actually, to play the lottery.” Wallace also believes that minorities are disproportionately drawn to playing the lottery. “The way things are set up in the store is targeted for black people and poor people,” she said. A spokeswoman with the Texas Lottery Commission
By JOSH KOSMANLast Updated: 4:10 AM, August 17, 2011 Americans appear closer than ever to being able to gamble online — as a bill aimed at legalizing Internet casino gaming could find its way before Congress by the end of the year, people close to the matter tell The Post. The confidence over the federal legalization of online poker and other games comes as momentum in Washington builds behind the effort. “I think there is becoming a feeling in Congress that this is something that needs to be regulated and be done,” a source close to the discussions said. “I believe there is a possibility a bill will pass towards the end of the year.” “The only question is how it is structured,” according to Roger Gross, the publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine. The momentum is clear in at least three ways:Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Jon
Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 2:34 PM Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 4:20 PMBy Kim Chandler — The Birmingham News MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The jury in the Alabama bingo corruption trial handed down no convictions in the case. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on many charges, and it said defendants were not guilty on the rest. The judge is declaring mistrials on the charges for which the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, and he said he would set a new trial date within a month. [Click here to read the entire story.] ALCAP RESPONSE:Though the gambling corruption trial resulted in no convictions for the nine defendants and a mistrial has been declared on several of the counts, the fact remains that gambling and corruption go hand-in-hand. It is always difficult to prove intentions when money changes hands. The fact that the gambling bosses gave large
Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times Robbie Ottley, left, Katie Black and Josh Delaney, Hope scholarship students at the University of Georgia, discussed the program. By KIM SEVERSON ATHENS, Ga. — Students here at the University of Georgia have a name for some of the fancy cars parked in the lots around campus. They call them Hopemobiles. But there may soon be fewer of them. The cars are gifts from parents who find themselves with extra cash because their children decided to take advantage of a cherished state perk — the Hope scholarship. The largest merit-based college scholarship program in the United States it offers any Georgia high school student with a B-average four years of free college tuition. But the Hope scholarship program is about to be cut by a new governor and Legislature facing staggering financial troubles. [Click here to read the entire story of how the Georgia Lottery
Milton McGregor, Alabama legislators indicted in bingo probe; lobbyists among 11 charged in federal vote-buying scheme
Published: Tuesday, October 05, 2010, 5:30 AM Updated: Tuesday, October 05, 2010, 12:48 PMCharles J. Dean — The Birmingham News Country Crossings owner Ronnie Gilley is led away in handcuffs by U.S. Marshals as they leave the the U.S. Marshals’ office for the federal courthouse. ( The Birmingham News / Joe Songer ) In one of the biggest investigations of corruption in the history of the Alabama State House, federal agents Monday arrested four state senators, several powerful lobbyists and Milton McGregor, who has dominated the world of Alabama gambling for a quarter century. In all, 11 people were indicted in a broad vote-buying scheme in which federal prosecutors allege millions of dollars in campaign contributions, a $1 million-a-year job and election-year assistance were offered in exchange for critical yes votes on a gambling bill that went before legislators last spring. Prosecutors said the casino owners, legislators and lobbyists formed
Outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s primary legacy will be the introduction of casinos across the state. To sell his predatory gambling plan politically, he tied it to “tax relief.” So what does the future look like for the state’s taxpayers as Rendell leaves office? According to today’s Philadelphia Inquirer “the state’s budget gap could widen to $4 billion. The state also needs to fill a $472 million hole for highway capital projects. The extra pension costs, which escalate in 2013, could be from $3 billion to $5 billion.” The government program of predatory gambling is a public policy failure. Pennsylvania will not meaningfully improve its fiscal situation until it pulls back from a policy that worsens budget deficits and leads to higher taxes for every citizen. From blog on Stop Predatory Gambling website.