Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a Zoom meeting that included the Alabama Speaker of the House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon. In that meeting he stated that legislation legalizing a state-sponsored lottery, state-sanctioned casinos and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians was already being drafted and will definitely be introduced during the 2021 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. With all the problems facing our state, it appears the Alabama House and Senate will likely waste a great deal of time debating legislation that will only serve to take money out of the pockets of Alabama citizens (mostly the poorest citizens of our state) and will generate very little in return. In fact, it will do more harm than good!
The Governor’s Study Group on Gambling Policy Report, which was recently released, claims that Alabama can expect $700M (we believe that is a greatly exaggerated amount) in revenue from legalizing gambling, but even the chairman of that committee, former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, admitted at the news conference where that report was released that few people will travel to Alabama to buy lottery tickets or gamble in state-sanctioned casinos. He acknowledged that most of that money will come from the pockets of Alabama residents.
Where do you think that money will go if it is not being spent on gambling? — It will go to small businesses to buy goods and services. That means small businesses, local municipalities, county governments and the Alabama Education Trust Fund that gets much of its money from sales taxes will all suffer! Then, the Legislature will have to come back and raise taxes on everyone (even those of us who don’t gamble) in order to recover the lost revenue.
Please watch the attached 12-minute video that I produced this past fall and please share it with everyone in your circle of influence (church members, other churches and pastors and anyone you think might benefit from watching it). Also, as the video points out, please contact your Alabama State Representative and Senator and let him or her know of your opposition to any and all pro-gambling legislation!
ALCAP will have limited access to the State House and legislators this year due to COVID-19, so it is more important than ever that YOU get involved and contact your own legislators about this issue!